Camp set up at Broxden Park and Ride as councillor vows to support Traveller group

A senior Perth and Kinross councillor has vowed the local authority will support a group of Travellers who have set up camp at Broxden Park and Ride.

The Travellers arrived overnight on Tuesday, with six caravans and a number of vehicles seen in the car park by Wednesday morning.

Liberal Democrat councillor Peter Barrett, the local authority’s equalities lead, said the council had a responsibility to provide services for the Travelling community, such as toilets, washing and bins.

Mr Barrett, who represents Perth City Centre, said: “Perth and Kinross is traditionally an area that the Gypsy/Traveller community has lived in or travelled through and the council has a duty and responsibility to provide services for them.

Lib Dem councillor Peter Barrett.

“The council has adopted a negotiated stopping approach to Gypsy/Traveller encampments which involves dialogue and negotiation between the council and Gypsy/Travellers who pass through the area.

“Engagement to provide public health advice and support is particularly important during Covid-19, as is ensuring that temporary stopping places are safe and have access to basic sanitation and services – toilets, water, bins and wash facilities.

“I have advised council officers of the encampment at Broxden and they will take that forward.”

Broxden Park and Ride.

A previous Traveller encampment at Broxden Park and Ride was reported to child services by a local councillor in 2019, due to concerns for youngsters playing in close proximity to the buses.

Bosses at McLaughlan Transport, a haulage company at the Arran Road industrial estate in North Muirton, said at the time that having young children in the area was a risk.

A spokesman for bus operator Stagecoach said today the camp was a matter for Perth and Kinross Council.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman also said that it was the local authority who would deal with the issue.

‘Officers have visited to discuss arrangements’

A Perth and Kinross Council spokesman said: “We are aware of an unauthorised gypsy/travellers’ camp at Broxden and officers have visited to discuss the arrangements and safety issues with residents.”

It comes after Holyrood announced £20 million of funding last month to provide more and better accommodation for the Travelling community.

The funding, part of Scotland’s first long-term national housing strategy, will enable local authorities to improve existing sites and expand provision over the next five years.

‘Exclusion, deprivation and social antipathy’

The Scottish Government also announced last month it was extending its Gypsy/Traveller Action Plan by 18 months, due to the impact of Coronavirus restrictions.

The plan includes work to improve access to public services such as health and education, better engagement with members of the Gypsy and Traveller community and tackling negative attitudes towards them.

Holyrood’s Independent Race Equality Adviser Kaliani Lyle previously said there was “widespread exclusion, deprivation and social antipathy that Gypsy/Travellers face”.

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Perth & Kinross – The Courier