Green fortress is protecting land from travellers in Swindon

First published in News

THE problem of travellers setting up camp on green spaces in Eldene and Liden could be a thing of the past now a fortress of trees and bushes planted as blockades have grown to maturity. In the late 1990s, large groups of travellers would often move on to the grassy areas on either side of Dorcan Way between the two estates, as well as Elmore Park alongside Eldene Drive, sometimes causing noise and leaving behind waste. Then between 1998 and 2004, Swindon Council put in place a number of measures, including small mounding and a concrete barrier along Dorcan Way behind Okebourne Park, as well as small wooden barriers into a field on the Eldene side of Dorcan Way. There were also wooden blocks installed and scores of trees and bushes planted at Elmore Park, as well as further greenery planted beside part of Liden Drive, behind Oakbourne Park. These have now grown to maturity. Swindon Council says there have been no encampments in the Eldene and Liden area since May 2010, when four caravans were recorded. Pete Brown, 62, who was a labour councillor for the Dorcan area from 1979 to 1991, and again from 1995 to 2004, was involved in installing the measures, which he says has saved the council thousands in legal and clean-up costs. He said: “Throughout the 1990s from 1995 and thereafter it was quite horrendous for seven years. And one particular year we had eight incursions. “The planting has come off well since we had it laid, probably 10 years ago, so it has done quite well. “And the longer it stays here, the bigger it will get and the stronger it will get, so it will make the area more difficult to get onto. “I think all the work was done and it’s now come to fruition. And I’m really pleased with what we have done with the council. “The Labour group obviously did a great job by providing the money, £60,000 a year for five years, and it helped me resolve the problem in Dorcan and other areas. ”

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