Selkirk councillor disappointed in locals after clash with travellers

Selkirk councillor Gordon Edgar this week expressed his disappointment at some Selkirk folk after an escalating row between residents and travellers boiled over, with caravans being vandalised.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 10:56 am
Updated Thursday, 15th October 2020, 12:39 pm
Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar said he was disappointed in the way Souters treated the travelling community.

Travellers have been based at the caravan park site at Victoria Park, which was set by for travelling people at the height of the coronavirus lockdown in a bid to restrict their movement around the country.

However, several Selkirk residents were angered after reports of litter being left lying around and the adjoining Selkirk Youth Club rugby pitch being cut up by vehicles.

The councillor had been the official liason between the travellers and the council, visiting the site every day, but he says he has had to take a step back from that role after a backlash on social media.

Mr Edgar said there were only two or three families left at the site.

He said: “I’ve had a lot of negative harassment from residents ... I don’t need that and neither does my family.

“They think I am on the side of the travelling people, but I am on the side of the whole community ... and while they are here they are a part of that community.”

Mr Edgar claimed some of the travellers felt the need to move on after being harassed by a section of the town’s residents.

He said: “One night, the travellers were shouted at, there was banging on the caravans, torches shone through the windows and some windows were broken.

“Some have done what travelling people do ... if they get bothered they travel.”

Asked if the incident had been reported to police, he said: “That is up to them ... although they are very cautious about getting in touch with the police, as it tends to backfire on them.

“I am very disappointed in how the people of Selkirk have treated the travelling community ... it’s difficult to explain things to people who don’t want to listen.”

Mr Edgar was talking on Tuesday after a heated debate as part of the town’s community council meeting held via Zoom on Monday evening, which saw many Souters go online to have their say on the matter.