Private contractors had to be called in to help clear up a children’s play area.
The major clear up operation got underway last Thursday morning after a group of travellers who set up camp on Whinney Hill Recreation Ground off Bradford Road, Brighouse, were moved on.
Calderdale Council, which owns the land, applied to Halifax County Court for a possession order so they could evict the travellers.
This was issued last Wednesday morning and the group is reported to have left the site at around 11.30pm that evening.
Council officers were soon on the scene last week and called in private contractors to remove what is believed to be between 80 and 100 tons of rubble and Tarmac from the site. A spokesman for Calderdale Council said: “Travellers moved on from Whinney Hill recreation ground in Brighouse at around 11.30pm last Wednesday evening, after being on site for 17 days.
“A significant amount of litter, domestic waste, tarmac and rubble was left behind, requiring a large cleanup effort.
“Members of Calderdale Council’s Safer, Cleaner, Greener team began the cleanup at 8am on Thursday, September 12, using tractors, trailers and vans to remove the debris. Approximately 80 to 100 tons of material was removed, and the whole site was litter picked and checked for glass and fouling of any kind.
“The majority of the cleanup operation was completed by Thursday lunch time.”
Councillor Colin Stout (Ind, Brighouse) said that a proper strategy needed to be put in place rather than a knee jerk reaction every time some set up camp. “We need to start protecting the sites such as Lane Head, The Stray, Granny Hall and other primary sites throughout Calderdale where travellers think they can just pull on.
“We need to have a debate and if we could come up with a designated site such as near junction 22 at Ripponden. No one lives up there, it is close to the motorway and if we state they only stay a maximum of a couple of nights. I am open to other suggestions so we can have a proper discussions.”
He said only a couple of weeks ago they were in Elland and this week some appeared at Shelf. “The distress it causes residents living next to these sites is immense. And the costs to clear up afterwards and to keep taking court action, as well as officer time and manpower,” he said. “I know that other people such as Environmental Health and the Police are trying to draw up some kind of strategy but it needs to be wider than them.”