Our MP Gordon Birtwistle has either had a memory lapse or is being economical with the truth regarding the sites for travellers.
I worked in the council’s property department in the mid 1980s and me and my colleagues were frequently employed getting eviction orders from court to move groups of travellers on from numerous sites in the town.
I was also tasked by councillors, along with a number of other officers, at looking for suitable sites for a permanent site for travellers but then, as I suspect will happen now, councillors baulked at the prospect of their constituents reactions to any proposed site and shelved the idea.
The travellers are still with us 30 years later. Mr Birtwistle’s head is firmly in the sand if he believes they will now just magically disappear, they are a group of people with local connections who have year after year returned to Burnley and will continue to do so ad infinitum.
The town has two choices, either continue as it has been doing moving them on from site to site with them leaving town for brief periods then returning and suffer the disruption and cost of that, or provide suitable permanent sites somewhere in town.
Finding any sites that are acceptable to the travelling community and residents was, and remains, an almost impossible task for the council officers but pretending there isn’t an issue as Mr Birtwistle is attempting to do, doubtless with one eye on May 2015, isn’t helping anyone.