Meeting planned to tackle issue of Otley travellers' camps

Otley Town Council is vowing to do all it can to stop a local business suffering any further disruption due to illegal travellers’ camps.

Ideal Standard’s Otley facility, which makes plastic mouldings for bathrooms, was occupied by six caravans and vans for a month this summer, between June and July.

The illegal encampment at the firm’s Ilkley Road base hampered its day-to-day business, saw some workers intimidated and required a major clean-up operation after the travellers eventually left.

In a bid to prevent the same thing happening in future years, town council representatives met recently with local police, Ideal Standard’s Otley manager and members of Leeds City Council’s travellers unit.

Chairman of the town council’s environment and sustainability committee, Councillor Kevin Cooney (Lab, West Chevin), said: “The travellers unit acted absolutely in accordance with the regulations and followed the necessary procedure before applying, as soon as they could, to the court for an order to get the travellers to quit this site in July.

“But we know there were significant problems caused by this unauthorised encampment, because Ideal has materials being delivered and finished goods going out, and having these caravans parked on Ilkley Road disrupted the company’s ability to do its normal business.

“A very considerable street clean-up was also needed afterwards.

“We want to try to make sure Ideal and its workers are not subjected to these problems again, and we are committed to working with highways, the police, the company and all other interested parties to ensure everything is done to eliminate the possibility of another illegal encampment there.”

Revelations Leeds City Council had been considering land off Ilkley Road, Otley, as one of a shortlist of possible locations for a new, official travellers’ site caused anger in the town when they emerged last month.

The local authority, which has been given £1 million to develop new pitches for gypsies and travellers, has now abandoned the idea of creating a new site in favour of expanding its existing facility at Cottingley Springs.

l What do you think? We welcome letters on this or any other subject. E-mail richard.parker@gazetteand-observer.co.uk or write to The Editor, Gazette and Observer, 8 Wells Road, Ilkley LS29 9JD. Please include your full name, address and contact number.

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