Council leader slams expense

Kirriemuir councillor Iain Gaul.

Kirriemuir councillor Iain Gaul.

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The leader of Angus Council has described as “bloody annoying” the steps the authority has had to take to ensure there is no “unauthorised access” to public land.

Councillor Iain Gaul told the ‘Dispatch and Herald’ he found preventative measures paid for out of the public purse were “not frustrating but bloody annoying”, given the climate of cuts facing the local authority.

Work has been carried out throughout Forfar, including the erection of barriers, digging of ditches and placing of boulders over entrances to ensure no group or person can set up camp.

Mr Gaul said: “These have been put there to stop unauthorised access, which includes travellers. It is rather unfortunate this is the action we have to take.

“I don’t welcome the steps taken but recognise we need to take such measures. It would be better if we didn’t have to, if people could live in harmony and not abuse what is there.

“It’s the abuse that is the problem. If they would come along and tidy up behind them and not defecate outside people’s property and urinate through people’s fences.”

He warned that, because last summer had been lucrative for the travellers as they were employed by locals, they would return.

He continued: “Because of the amount of work the travelling community got in this area we will be a hot spot. It was a really lucrative place for them to come and they are going to be coming back and stay as long as they can.”

Commenting on measures taken he added: “We have spent a fortune. When I became leader the first thing I did was say what dire straits we were in. We are having to make difficult decisions.

“We are wasting money, throwing away assets to deal with these people. Services are being cut, I am sitting in a meeting one minute to discuss closing toilets to save £1,000, the next week we could be talking of spending £15,000 to clean up after travellers - it’s nuts and not how we should be operating.”