Wooden posts prove no deterrent as travellers return to Bradley Stoke Way

Illegal traveller encampment on Bradley Stoke Way. [Credit: Tim Bull]

A group of travellers with more than ten vehicles has set up camp on a grass verge alongside Bradley Stoke Way overnight (Thursday 21st/Friday 22nd August).

The same strip of land, near Primrose Bridge (between Aldi and the Willow Brook Centre), was the site of a ten-day illegal traveller encampment in June.

Three vehicles were seen at the site shortly after 10pm last night and by 6.15am this morning the encampment had grown to include at least eleven vehicles.

The land on which the travellers are camped is owned by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC), which was widely criticised during the June episode for taking a “weak” approach to resolving the situation.

Following the previous encampment, Bradley Stoke mayor Cllr John Ashe, frustrated at SGC’s lack of action, arranged for a set of four wooden posts to be installed on the access ramp to the site in an effort to “prevent another incursion”. This morning, only two of the posts remain and one of two trees planted on the ramp only last week has also disappeared.

Town and district councillor Ben Walker, who was highly critical of SGC during and after the June encampment, has already written to Amanda Deeks, SGC’s chief executive, saying:

“Here we go again. Travellers on the same piece of land but this time, they removed a tree and two timber posts to gain access.”

“This is criminal damage and forced entry so these travellers should be charged as such and removed from site TODAY.”

“Another weak approach and drawn out negotiation simply won’t do this time.”

Local MP Jack Lopresti was also critical of SGC for apparently preferring to “persuade” the travellers to move on, rather than taking legal action. He even raised the matter in parliament (on 30th June), where he was told by Secretary of State Eric Pickles that: “… if  action is taken promptly, the law is adequate”.

Photo: Traveller encampment at 6.15am this morning. [Credit: Tim Bull]

Read more: Reader comments (on the BSJ Facebook page).

UPDATE (at 3pm on 22nd August): The office of Jack Lopresti MP has issued the following statement:

Today Jack Lopresti, Member of Parliament for Bradley Stoke has demanded that South Gloucestershire Council take swift action to move on the Travellers illegally pitched on Bradley Stoke Way.

Last night around 11pm travellers broke onto the embankment on Bradley Stoke Way to illegally pitch there, in doing so causing considerable damage to the foliage and wooden bollards present.

Jack said:

“I am very disappointed to see travellers, again, illegally pitched on Bradley Stoke Way. This morning my office has been in contact with the Chief Executive of South Gloucestershire Council and the police to ensure that this situation is in hand and that all is being done to evict the trespassers and that prosecutions are made for the criminal damage that has been done to the site. I have also asked the police to ensure that all vehicles on site are road worthy, taxed and insured.”

“I’m deeply irritated to see travellers back on this site just over a month since they were last evicted. Despite the solid efforts of Bradley Stoke Mayor, John Ashe and his team of local Councillors to ensure this situation didn’t occur again the sluggish bureaucracy and poor leadership shown by South Gloucestershire Council have stunted those efforts and let down the people of Bradley Stoke.”

“I will be working with local councillors to ensure that South Gloucestershire Council and the police moves the travellers on as expediently as possible.”

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  1. so, last time, the police didnt get involved as they claimed no criminal damage had taken place.. this time IT HAS !!!! they have removed posts that were put there by the council which is damage .. so POLICE WHERE ARE YOU ????? Typical no follow thru.

  2. My heart sank this morning on the way to work, after seeing the return of the travellers. It’s time the council realised that for the residents of Bradley Stoke this is a serious issue, and if it can’t be dealt with effectively then we have to question their ability to represent us on all matters of local government. No lessons have been learned.

  3. Like wooden posts were going to stop them anyway… I found the whole post thing laughable at the time, and just look now! I bet they removed that post in no less than 30 seconds…

    This time, it looks like it is going to be big. Notice how they have started at the far end…. plenty of room to allow others to join!

  4. What can we do!!! Move them on quickly as they have cause criminal damage. Replant the ground to return back to nature as its waste of open land. Plus reduced cost in not keep cutting the grass. Dig a trench on the slope to stop access. If BSTC are worried over the cost of digging the trench on the slope I’ll dig it for free. Plus many residents in Bradley stoke must have spare small trees-plants etc. In their gardens which could be given over to the project. Because we now have to pay for our green bins. Get the schools involved, it would be good for the kids to plant their own tree or plant and watch it grow as they wil do within Bradley Stoke.

  5. I read about this late last night and my blood boiled. As already stated criminal damage has been done so the police need to make them pay for it, then evict them. If they refuse then get the bailiffs / sheriffs out to remove vehicles by crane. We need the council and police to act quickly and decisively to show support for residents and to prevent this from happening again.

  6. Having had to deal with this situation many times over the years in my career, may I suggest as a local business I will happily dig a suitable ditch to stop this happening

  7. Out of interest, does anyone know what state the travellers left the area in last time they were there, apart from tearing up the grass?

  8. The gipsies got shot of the posts. It soon will be our time to get shot of the wooden top councillors!!!! Wasting money again. “Do it cheap do it twice” should be BSTC motto

  9. Doug and Matt
    do you not know what mess they left last time they were here you just have to ask the local dog walkers what these people left in the woods it was horrible .
    Also why should these people be allowed to do it if you or I wanted to put our Caravans on here we would be made to get them off right away.
    Maybe now something much more than wooden post can be put here to stop this happening again.
    OH and Matt that’s not always the case I have seen many privates houses worse looking than some rented houses

  10. Seems like the same travellers that have been moving around the area for the past couple of months, they were moved on from Little Stoke Park last month and obviously Bradley Stoke Way before this. Surely the police should be involved this time as they’ve caused damage to get onto the side again. Expect South Glos won’t get involved until after the bank holiday

  11. The whole thing makes me laugh to be honest. What is the point of everyone getting their backs up, what will be, will be.

  12. The family group seem fairly harmless. When I walk through the woods and an not confronted with full dog mess bags hanging from trees I may be happier to accept that they make more mess than ‘normal residents’, who presumably think they can behave as they like as long as they pay for the priviledge.
    The constant eviction and re-encampment of travellers will continue to be a problem until there are enough transient spaces to accomadate them but as with everything else the ‘not in my back yard’ applies.
    This is the real problem for the council to sort out, not wether they put in trees or posts to stop them.

  13. Why cant the police impound one of the expensive looking trucks and hand it back when the site is vacated on the condition that expenses for repairing the damage and cleaning the site has been paid. If not sell the vehicle and return any excess to the travellers.

  14. Just driven past and there’s loads of them, doubled since 12.45pm! Perhaps they are here to enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend in Bradley Stoke at the Carnival and see their friends at the funfair? They are probably enjoying everybody getting their knickers in a twist…come on how were four wooden posts ever going to stop them!!

  15. Judi as you are such a fan of giving people free land why don’t you let them pitch up in your garden? “travellers” aren’t owed anything by anybody. The council is weak and as a result are getting taken advantage of by a bunch of free-loading leeches.

  16. what a joke, move them on and stop it happening again, especially with criminal damage this time I don’t know why this cant be done!

  17. I think council should stop them everywhere they go going bk last month they was at Hengrove and hartcliffe way it’s not good they make
    e the place look untidy and look a mess

  18. Getting crowded: At 5.30pm on Friday, the number of caravans at the illegal traveller encampment alongside Bradley Stoke Way had risen to eleven (up from eight at 11.15am). There are also eight commercial trucks plus numerous other vans and cars. Photo: http://bit.ly/1pR9Fa0

  19. I drove past at approx 10.30am this morning and saw a man with a flourescent waist coat going to each van with what looked like official clipboard/papers? He definitely didnt look like he was one of them! He looked official….also saw police car going in that direction. Is there a chance he was serving them notice to quit? Unfotunately, very niave to think the wooden posts would prevent further visitors. A lesson learnt.
    I still hope the horse receives proper care, it has no shelter where it has been tethered! RSPCA maybe?

  20. Cllr Ashe is a joke. Thinking that 4 posts would stop Travellers from getting back onto this land was a waste of tax payers money and a big mis-STAKE!!

    But come on, lets not be judge, jury and executioner. Yes they appear to have broken the law, but surely the Police must be the judge of that and their inaction may be part of the strategy for moving them on quicker. NTQ’s can always be challenged and they allow time for people to move. Negotiation can sometimes be the best way forward. Let’s wait and see.

    BUT, once they’re gone, let’s make sure they can’t get access again.

    [Ed: NTQ = Notice To Quit]

  21. Right then, easy solution guys. We won 2 world wars so this should be easy!
    In the early hours, one of you with a JCB dig a trench to stop the mass exit while another goes along with a muck spreader…..
    May seem silly but it’s what we used to do and it worked!

  22. I suggest peaceful protest. If they fancy putting up with every single driver holding down their car horn whilst driving from Tesco to Aldi (and the opposite), then fair play. I predict they will soon move when the whole family, kids and all, cant sleep or rest due to the constant noise. Who’s with me? Use your horns.

  23. This makes my blood boil too. It just goes to show that SGC’s weak approach last time is being exploited by the travellers and word has spread among the traveller groups that it’s ok to return here en-masse. Absolutely ridiculous that groundswell of opinion from BS residents counts for nothing.

    I’m actually in favour of the wooden posts – clearly they weren’t going to stop a concerted effort, but at least someone tried to do something within the constraints they faced. Clearly SGC should have done something but didn’t. (Shame their inactivity didn’t extend to the green bin charge as well, but that’s a different story.)

    Aren’t SGC supposed to take a harder line given that they already supply designated traveller camps in the area? Aren’t they meant to be accountable to their electorate?

  24. This is the same group of travelers who broke into the field along the A38 in Almondsbury on the turn off to hortham lane, breaking the padlock on the gates and moving a large concrete block to gain access!

    They left a load of rubbish in the field which has blown out onto hortham lane, and there was a burnt out moped 20 meters from where they pitched a day or two after they arrived… obviously a coincidence!

  25. The travellers have caused the police helicopter flyby’s to hang straight over my house, it is extremely loud and at the times that it does hang over it is waking people up all over my house. Seriously can this not be dealt with in daylight hours?

  26. Once the travellers have gone, we need to get the council to cover the entire area with staked trees and bushes. This is the best long term solution, and logistically it would be too much hassle/damage for the travellers to consider again. Seems strange that the original landscaping left this empty patch in the first place. I was also woken by the helicopter last night.

  27. @Max…are you for real…how do you know that NPAS Filton was up dealing with the travellers just checked twitter and there’s no updates on their feed?? and do you honestly think that they actually wait until you are all in bed asleep before flying above your house? People like you would be quick enough to moan if something was happening to your property and the police weren’t dealing with it…we are lucky to have a police helicopter so close by, you should try supporting that instead of whinging!

  28. Have you seen the lifting equipment they have? Probably make short work of any obstruction in their path.
    There are also too many grassed areas in Bradley Stoke which can offer attractive alternative sites.

  29. Might give the fair and carnival a miss (shame) seem to be a lot of unrulely youths playing up already.
    dont think there locals

  30. As much as we have no time for these travellers, our real anger is with Bradley Stoke Council and SGC for their pathetic response in stopping this ever happening again. STICKS, Unbelievable !!!

  31. Walked up footpath alongside Patchway brook Friday evening.
    5 or 6 older traveller children throwing items into tree, and knocked down a bird box.
    Criminal damage ?

  32. I am amazed by all the people of Bradley Stoke.When Israel started the war against Hamas, thousands of people were on the street in the UK, they even damaged some Tesco in the country for selling product from Israel. When ISIS is killing thousands of Christians in Irak, selling Christian women as slaves, forcing men to become muslims or killing them, nobody says anything. I haven’t heard a word from UKIP (national or local). I believe that if you are a politician (national or local) it is important to defend some basics rights. But nothing, I haven’t seen people on the street protesting against ISIS, I haven’t heard any of the”moderate” muslims saying we have to fight ISIS. But 5 gypsies families have arrived in Bradley Stoke and everybody is ready to go to fight! There is already 40 comments and I am sure our local UKIP Superman will be standing on the bridge every day. Pathetic, just pathetic!

  33. People need to act with their vote and get the current council out at the next opportunity.

    How did we expect it to play out when the current lot placed a few 3″ posts in the ground, how the hell is that going to stop a a person with few pounds of weight behind them, let alone a transit knocking them to one side.

    When the posts were erected the current chap (can’t remember his name) stood proudly having his picture taken and stating how he’d single handily sorted out any future problems.

    What a joke, get some large boulders across the entrance and cover the whole area with trees.

  34. Henry, Nigel Farage of UKIP is the only mainstream politician calling for British Muslims who go to fight for IS to be stripped of their citizenship.

    His position was widely reported in the news this week but here’s a helpful link if you missed it. I do wonder why you are so anti-UKIP though, care to explain?


    You wonder why local people get so worked up about gypsies and not Iraq/Syria/Israel? Probably because those events you quote are thousands of miles away and over which we have zero influence whereas the plague of “travelers” are literally camped on our doorsteps, are funded by us for the legal bills and clean-up operations and their anti-social, anti-community, zero-respect behaviours go against every value law-abiding citizens stand for.

  35. anon-e-mouse I only wish UKIP win the general election. I can’t wait. Anyway, we have already an example of what type of politician we have here with our local super hero from UKIP! Meanwhile elderly people won’t be able to pay their energy bill this winter, more and more people are buying reduced food at Tesco, and more and more people are claiming Tax Credit because the salary they got from their employers is not enough to feed their family! But 10 gypsies families are more important…indeed!

  36. One caravan seen leaving the site at 12.15pm today. Another is thought to have left yesterday. No sign of any further imminent departures.

  37. Ben Walker is a politician so he should follow the laws of this country. He is nobody to say: If council won’t act, I will. This is dangerous words from somebody who is elected by the citizen. Hitler started like this in Germany and looks how it ended! UKIP is exactly the same, and people should realise that UKIP doesn’t defend our interests. UKIP is against Europe…but they are very happy to be at the EU parliament (huge salary), they want to protect England (he printed leaflet in Germany), he (Farrage) can’t stand European immigrants but he is married to a German. But as the education level is so low at the moment…I am not surprised how people believe everything they say. Ben Walker the super local hero is back to save the world! Bradley Stoke a town without law! Pathetic…..

  38. These people choose to reside in caravans . They are Human beings and have just as much right as anyone else to exist on this planet . This country has laws in place to deal with any problems and in my opinion we should allow these people to live as they wish. They are currently on a grass verge , which is not being used by any other members of the community . Let’s show them some agape love .

  39. This is getting out of hand !I hope theat they will be removed before i go bsck to school because I don’t want to have to walk past them . They have a crazey dog how terrifies me and my friends .Also the have horses and me being a horse lover hate to see them being abused .
    Police do something other than sitting down and having a chat to them they are a unessery risk to the student of bscs and the people of Bradley Stoke! !!!!!!!!

  40. Digit it is not the fact they sre on public metal that os bovering people it is the mess they leave and the abuse the do to there animals .they kill there horses if they cant pull there carriage any more or be ridden or send them to be turned into horse feed and you said that humans have the right to exist on this planet so why does it not apply for animal they have feelings just like people

  41. Looks like the remaining six caravans will be leaving the Bradley Stoke Way traveller encampment very shortly. Five of them are now hitched up to trucks or vans.

  42. There’s a simple solution to prevent this happening time and time again. The solution doesn’t lie with Bradley Stoke Council, South Glocs Council, the Government or the police. It lies with us all, the residents of Bradley Stoke and the surrounding areas and the solution is not to do business with them. Don’t employ them to lay your new driveway, chop down that tree that needs cutting back or take away rubbish etc. When it’s clear there’s no money to be made they will move on to somewhere they can find work. Unfortunately there’s always someone looking to save a few quid for a “cash in hand” job that let’s the side down.

  43. Just to let you know I have driven through the Bradley Stoke Way and glad to see that the travellers have left. Hopefully a new contingent won’t arrive tonight ! Sorry to say that, the ineffectiveness of the Police worries the residents a lot. We need to dig the ditch soon. Let’s keep Bradley Stoke a nice place to live.

  44. Site of an illegal traveller encampment on Bradley Stoke Way, pictured shortly after the travellers had left.
    The scene today, three hours after the last traveller caravan departed at around 12pm.

    Left behind on the verge / in the hedge:
    * Equivalent of about 14 bin bags of rubbish, about half of it bagged, remainder in piles or scattered about the verge
    * Large pile of tree branches (suspected commercial waste)
    * Smaller pile of tree branches, possibly covering some other waste
    * Broken picnic chair and table
    * Small inflatable paddling pool
    * Uprooted tree and shattered wooden post (previously on access ramp)

    On the other side of the hedge, i.e. in the nature reserve:
    * Equivalent of about two bin bags of scattered rubbish, including plastic containers, clothing and carpet

    Reported as fly tipping to SGC. Ref No. 130565

    “Thank you for telling us about this problem. We will remove the fly tipping within three working days. If you would like further information please quote your reference number above when contacting us.”

  45. To Tom Aditya-someone-Disgruntled-council tax payer etc…
    UK Crime Stats in Bradley Stoke (without Gypsies is not that peaceful anyway):
    July 2013-June 2014: Criminal Damage: 138, Drugs: 18, Violent Crime: 84, Vehicle Crime: 36, Burglary: 69, Anti Social Behaviour: 382, Public Order: 20, Other Theft: 79, Bike Theft: 13, Shoplifting: 53.

    How many times did we have some travellers to Bradley Stoke? ukcrimestats.com

  46. @ Henry: Have I said Travellers are the only reason for crime in Bradley Stoke? No, then what is your logic? Please check your sources and see for yourself that Bradley Stoke is better off compared to other equivalent towns. It’s not because of any magic by the Police, but because of the civility of its residents. Let common sense prevails..

  47. Esso Pipeline.

    The Journal has learned that Bradley Stoke Mayor John Ashe had arranged to have a ditch dug “immediately on the travellers’ departure”, but the plan has been scuppered by the presence of a high-pressure oil pipeline that runs under the access ramp onto the encampment site. Any excavation within a certain distance of the pipeline requires the permission of its owner, Esso.

    The “encampment area” is on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the town council’s Planning Committee, which takes place at the Jubilee Centre (BS32 8HL), starting at 7pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend and can have their say during the 15-minute public questions session at the start of the meeting. Agenda: http://bit.ly/bstcpec

    Photo: Pipeline warning sign similar to one positioned near the access ramp to the encampment site.

  48. what about those big boulders they seem to do the trick else where
    now they have gone you need something that really keeps them out ok it was not the best of ideas wooden posts but he did try to do something about it which is more than most people

  49. The town council’s ‘Plan A’ defences of four wooden posts and two trees have been reinstated today. ‘Plan B’ (digging a ditch) has been scuppered by the presence of a high-pressure underground oil pipeline beneath the access ramp onto the site. ‘Plan C’ (depositing two large boulders on the access ramp and allowing the grass on the site to grow long) is to be discussed at a site meeting tomorrow.

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