RESIDENTS are understandably demanding action after travellers returned to a site in Highfield Road, Farnworth.

Their view is that the council should have done more to prevent caravans and vehicles from getting on to the field after they vacated the site a few weeks ago ­— leaving behind a large amount of rubbish and waste which the council had to remove.

It is not just damage to the field that is the issue for residents, who say they have been subjected to anti-social behaviour and intimidation. They feel that by stopping camps being set up on the site, it will reduce the associated trouble that has gone with them.

But there is another suggestion that has been put forward to address the issue. A charity that works with Gypsies and travellers wants the council to adopt a “negotiated stopping” approach which would see it clean up waste and rubbish, agree a length of time for which the travellers could stay, and negotiate to keep them away from contentious sites.

The idea is that this reduces the costs and legal fees incurred by councils trying to evict the travellers. It is also believed to improve community cohesion between settled and travelling communities.

Adopting such an approach might make some people uncomfortable, but it might be preferable to confrontation and expensive clean-up bills.

It might be worth trying to see how it works.