TRAVELLERS occupying parts of a new housing estate say they are planning to stay 'as long as possible'.

UPDATE: Fears travellers have moved to Harwell Campus 

The Oxford Mail visited the caravan sites that have sprung up in Great Western Park, Didcot, yesterday afternoon after a string of complaints about antisocial behaviour.

Householders have described naked children running alongside a busy road and small dogs being left 'out of control' since the group arrived earlier this week.

Oxford Mail:

One of the caravan occupants, who wouldn't give her name, said she had come up from London, arriving in Didcot on Tuesday.

She said the aim was to stay as long as possible and was enjoying her time in Oxfordshire so far as it is a 'beautiful setting.'

No representatives of either developer Taylor Wimpey, who owns the land, the police or local authorities had made contact with the group since their arrival, according to the woman.

READ AGAIN: Travellers 'take over' Great Western Park estate in Didcot

Around 20 caravans were seen in total across three locations on the estate.

Several are parked either side of the road at the entrance, off the A4130, with more further up the hill near the Taylor Wimpey show homes.

A bird of prey, several pieces of heavy machinery and tree cutting equipment were seen among the vehicles.

Oxford Mail:

A man loading a chainsaw into the back of his van said he was about to leave, having been staying on the site since Tuesday.

He said he was 'going home' to the Midlands as there was 'no place like home.'

When asked why the group had decided to come to Didcot he said there was no particular reason, adding: "We move around. It is our culture."

READ ALSO: Travellers move into Ralegh Crescent park, Witney

At another caravan a traveller told us she had come in from Birmingham but was part of the same group. She also said she planned to stay 'as long as possible.'

Police have visited the caravans on the other side of the road, she said, but had not visited her encampment yet.

Oxford Mail:

She denied suggestions that members of the group had been responsible for antisocial behaviour in the area, saying: "We don't wish to cause any bother."

Meanwhile Gareth Clarke, the chairman of the Great Western Park Residents Association, has described the impact of the travellers' presence on the estate.

Along with the concerns about child safety, he claimed the local branch of Asda has had to increase its security, although there was nobody in place when the Oxford Mail visited yesterday.

He also claimed that dog walkers were unable to take their regular routes and complained of a large amount of litter and waste and said people were worried about the security of their properties.

He added: "The main issue for residents is that it is not known exactly when this illegal encampment will be removed and what is being done, this is clearly causing a great deal of public harassment, alarm and distress.

"We have encouraged residents to be extra vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.

Oxford Mail:

"We hope they will be gone within a few weeks, either voluntarily or by lawful force. "The GWPRA is already planning a community litter pick to clear up after they have gone.

"We will also be requesting a meeting with Taylor Wimpey, South Oxfordshire District Council and Thames Valley Police to see what measures need to be implemented to prevent a re-occurrence of this in the future."

Oxfordshire County Council said that, as the landowners, the encampment was a matter for Taylor Wimpey.

It is understood that the land should have been transferred into council ownership three years ago but remains privately owned.

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A spokeswoman for the developer confirmed that it 'was in the process of' taking legal action to ensure the travellers are moved from the site as soon as possible.

One local resident told the Oxford Mail that people were frustrated at a perceived lack of action from the authorities so far.

He added: "The residents are really angry – especially as two PCSOs came in a van, one was seen to shake one of the travellers' hands and then they left again."

Oxford Mail:

Louisa Maher, spokeswoman for Thames Valley Police, said the force would be increasing patrols in the local area.

She added: "Thames Valley Police is aware of an unauthorised encampment in Great Western Park in Didcot.

"There will be ongoing patrols to encourage engagement between the police, the local council, landowner, local residents and members of the travelling community.

"No arrests have been made and code of conduct leaflets have been distributed."