A group of Irish travellers camping in Brighton illegally have thanked Brighton and Hove City Council for the treatment that they have received.
The travellers, currently located in the car park of the Waterhall playing fields, said that they were treated better in Brighton than anywhere else.
Currently there are traveller sites at Brighton Racecourse, in the Duke’s car park at the entrance of Stanmer Par, at the Pavilion car park at Waterhall, and at Black Rock.
The travellers’ comments came as it arose that these four illegal encampments had been set up.
Initially the Brighton Racecourse travellers had been staying near to Sheepcote Valley, but were moved after a possession order was granted to Brighton and Hove City Council.
Traveller John O’Leary said: “We are all so thankful that they have been so welcoming.
“They have let us use the toilets and brought bins down which have been regularly emptied.”
However, a city council spokesperson has said: “Some of the travellers from Sheepcote Valley are now occupying racecourse land.
“This is private land and the unauthorised encampment will be dealt with by the landowner.”
A court order to move the Whitehall travellers has also been secured, and a separate order is in the process of being attained to remove the caravans in Stanmer Park.
Ben Duncan, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, equalities and public protection, said that the large number of travellers setting up campsites in Brighton and Hove illustrates the growing need for a second permanent travellers’ site.
In October 2011, plans to create a permanent traveller site in Woodingdean were met by peaceful protests.
Currently, the only permanent traveller site is situated in Horsdean, which was founded following a government grant of £1.7m.
One student said: “I guess this just proves that they were not a threat to the city and its population. It’s a beautiful gesture.”