A leading councillor has said a temporary Travellers site on the outskirts of Dundee had been “a success” — despite mountains of rubbish being dumped on the land.
Travellers vacated the stretch at Jack Martin Way, near Fintry, over the weekend after being allowed to use the area on a short-term basis instead of being moved on through legal action.
Housing convener John Alexander said the “proactive approach” had reduced costs to the taxpayer and cut complaints and disruption.
He said: “This was about trying a different approach to see if we could reduce the costs to the Dundee taxpayers and minimise complaints. In both of these areas, this has been a success.
“My view from the outset was that the old approach did not achieve anything for the council or the taxpayers of Dundee.
“The only way to break that cycle of legal action/clean up was to try to do something different. I understand the debate but know that the vast majority of people understand that this was proactive action taken for the right reasons, and it has proved to be beneficial.
“In taking this approach, we can say confidently that we have reduced complaints and saved taxpayers thousands of pounds in legal costs — which will be used in more important areas, whether that be education or another part of the council.”
The temporary camp at Jack Martin Way received 12 complaints over 37 days, with eight of those relating to specific incidents. By comparison, an illicit camp at Mill o’ Mains attracted 17 complaints over a much shorter time period.
Mr Alexander said: “It’s clear that in taking forward a different approach, we have reduced complaints substantially over a longer period of time.”
The councillor acknowledged that there would be clean-up costs after the land was vacated. Items dumped included soiled nappies, gas canisters and a barbecue.
Councillor Alexander said: “Any costs will be substantially less than what it would have been had we taken the default position of moving the group from A to B, B to C etc.
“This was certainly two steps forward, one step back but overall I think people can see that it achieved the aims that we set out: reduce disruption and reduce costs.”