Thursday, October 7, 2010
MERRY OLD SCOTLAND
Gypsies move in on park and ride for second time
07 October 2010
By LAURA CUMMINGS
GYPSY travellers have returned to a park-and-ride facility where they are taking up dozens of parking spaces for the second time this year.
Around 20 caravans and motor homes are now parked towards the back of the car park at Sheriffhall park and ride after travellers starting arriving at the site last Friday.
A Lothian Buses employee in the travel shop told the News that some of the children from the travelling families had been asking people waiting for buses for money, and were even jumping on board the buses when the drivers were changing over.
The man, who didn't want to be named, added that the travellers were expected to be removed from the site by Midlothian Council today or tomorrow, after apparently being issued with warning notices.
He said: "The main concern when they're here is to the travelling public's cars. They are always panicking that something might happen to their car. The only spaces that were left yesterday morning were next to the travellers and you can see how hesitant people are to park there.
"These travellers have been relatively quiet so far but yesterday was the worst day. At about 4.15pm, a convoy of about eight caravans came in through the 'no entry' part of the car park as cars were coming out. They have no respect.
"The bus drivers were telling me that kids had been annoying passengers at the bus shelter too, trying to get money off them. When the drivers were changing over they were running about on the buses."
He added: "My problem is trying to get parking spaces for the people who are using the buses. The travellers are taking up over 100 spaces."
It is not the first time that the facility has been plagued by travellers. Lothian Buses closed the travel shop at Sheriffhall park and ride temporarily in July after complaints from staff that gypsy travellers had overrun the toilets.
It came just days after the bus company diverted services away from the Straiton facility because 45 caravans had moved into the car park.
The Lothian Buses worker at Sheriffhall said: "The last time they were here the bairns were cycling between the cars and trying the door handles.
If a bairn gets hit by a bus, there will be utter chaos."
He added: "The travellers can't get into Straiton park and ride now because height barriers have been put up which only allow cars to go under."
A spokesman for Lothian Buses said they were not aware of any major problems, but added that the company would be putting pressure on the council to remove them.
He said: "At this moment in time, there have been no incidents that affect us."
When the News approached a group of travellers for a comment, a man told the reporter to "get off the campsite".
A Midlothian Council spokeswoman said: "We are investigating and will determine what action is required."
I bet it would be nice to have adequate "legal" sites. Morgan
Posted by Morgan at 2:50 PM