Not much usually changes from day to day in Mirfield, but so much happened within twenty-four hours with the arrival of travellers on Knowl Park.
They were evicted from land off Primrose Lane, Littletown (due to be used this weekend for part of the Cleckheaton Folk Festival) and arrived about 9pm Thursday to set up camp at Knowl Park in Mirfield - but by 9pm Friday night they were gone again - with the only evidence of their presence, the rubbish left behind.
I heard some say there were fifteen, others quoted forty - but whatever the number the response appeared to be loud and to the point - get rid quickly. The park is well used by families as it had recently undergone a major renovation and investment by the Town Council, with a new play area for children, a multi-purpose sports area and skate-park.
Members of the Town Council and representatives from the office of Simon Reevell MP were very quick to respond that evening, reassuring local residents and taking swift and decisive actions with Kirklees the following morning to see them evicted. And as so, they moved on.
So here is the dilemma...
I fully understand the outcry by local residents. I applaud the speed of which the councillors did a fantastic job. And I am not ashamed to admit I would not want them living in my back yard - but even though many are relieved they have moved on, where will they go next, and where will the next round of out-cries, court-actions and evictions take place ?
Whatever you think of travellers, they exist. The endless weekly court actions to move them on, does not seem a productive way of managing the situation - yet very few people would want a permanent site next door to them (and wouldn't that contradict the term ‘traveller' anyway).
May be the response would not be as strong amongst local residents with them ducking for cover and locking up their valuables and daughters if the travellers themselves did not continue to perpetuate their own image with the way they appear to descend and take over small communities so quickly and leave a trail of mess behind them.
I do not pretend to have the answers but the costly merry-go-round of arrivals and evictions cannot be the long-term answer.
These are my views and not necessarily the opinions of the town council.