FRUSTRATION over illegal encampments has been refuelled after travellers returned to one of Oxfordshire's biggest housing estates.

Caravans moved into Great Western Park on Monday, setting up next to trees near the under-construction new builds.

It is the second time this year that travellers have chosen to camp at the development in Didcot, following a two-week stay in April, although it is not clear if it is the same group as the last occasion.

After a summer without any illegal encampments reported to this paper, the group's presence has resurfaced concerns about a perceived lack of power authorities and landowners have to enforce the rules.

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Commenting on Facebook, one reader said: "I don't understand why are they not moved on before they make themselves at home.

"If some of our homeless set themselves up in a tent out of the way in a park, they are served an eviction notice and moved on - if they haven't gone by that date, the council go in and remove their tent and anything that's in it.

"I can't see why [travellers] aren't treated the same."

Another man, writing on a public Didcot residents' page, said: "Once again I bet nothing will happen and they will leave on their own terms, when they want to."

Residents said so far, the group is much smaller than the previous camp, with just a handful of caravans compared to dozens before.

A spokesperson for housing developer Taylor Wimpey said: “We are aware that a group of travellers have unlawfully accessed land at Great Western Park in Didcot.

"As the land owner, we are in the process of taking action to ensure the travellers are moved from the site as soon as possible."

Thames Valley Police was approached for comment, but the force has not yet confirmed if it is involved.

When travellers were at the site in April, residents complained they had 'taken over' and were washing in a pond, pegging out their laundry and had brought along chickens and horses.

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There have been no such complaints this time around, however.

In January, it was revealed that 60 illegal encampments were set up in Oxfordshire in 2018.

The clean-up operation and legal action cost the taxpayer more than £100,000 collectively.

Oxfordshire County Council's guidance to landowners about illegal encampments advises: "Start by talking to them to see if a leaving date can be agreed.

"If this is unsuccessful they can take proceedings in the county court under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 to obtain a court order for their eviction.

"There must be a minimum of two clear days between service of documents and the court hearing."

Great Western Park Residents’ Association discussed concerns about travellers at its annual general meeting in May.

Minutes of the meeting state: "Several residents had reported that they had spoken to the travellers, which had started off well-natured but deteriorated as time went on.

"Police [were] able to do little because of the encampment on private (Taylor Wimpey) land.

"A Facebook page poll asked if residents approved of further physical measures to prevent further ingress in to the open spaces by travellers.

"This had 264 responses with a 93 per cent positive response rate."

The minutes said a court order had been granted to 'move on any person who sets up an encampment on any open space on GWP.'

Taylor Wimpey did not specifically state if it was seeking an eviction order.