Travellers pitch camp at Preston pizzeria

A former Italian restaurant which was trashed by vandals has now been targeted by travellers.

Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 7:30 am
Travellers caravans in the car park of the former Baffito's restaurant.

The visitors set up home in the car park of Baffito’s on Preston’s dock estate some weeks ago. But locals say the encampment is now growing.

“There are a lot more caravans than there were at the start,” said one man who works nearby. “Nothing seems to be happening to sort this out.”

Preston Council say they are unable to intervene because the site is privately owned and the landlord is responsible for taking action to evict the travellers.

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The sorry state of the restaurant which closed in September.

But the leader of the Liberal Democrats on the authority says something should have been done to make the site secure when the pizzeria closed its doors in September.

Coun John Potter raised concerns in January when the building was vandalised and said “urgent action” was needed to make it safe.

But despite his call nothing appears to have changed.

“I regularly go for a walk around there and the place is in a real state,” he told the Post.

“I had real trouble getting hold of anyone to tell them they needed to make it safe. Whoever owns it has a duty to keep it secure, which obviously hasn’t happened.”

A Preston Council spokesperson said: “The site is privately owned, therefore it is the responsibility of the landowner.

"The landowner is aware and we are in regular dialogue with them about this situation.”

Baffito’s opened as an Italian themed restaurant in 2013. It was owned by a company called Woodpecker Inn Estates which was based in Penwortham. The Post has made efforts to contact the company.

The building was previously a pub called the Waterfront which called last orders in 2009, leaving the property boarded up for four years until Baffito's took over.