Travellers return to a Worksop park despite new security measures being installed
Travellers have returned to a park in Worksop – just weeks after new security measures were installed to stop further illegal encampments.
Caravans set up an illegal encampment at Farr Park, off Eastgate, last night.
It comes after Bassetlaw District Council was granted a court order for possession of the land after dozens of caravans moved onto the park on May 9.
The local authority had been forced to take legal action after council officers served notice on those occupying Farr Park asking them to move on, but this was ignored.
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Security measures including concrete planter rings and a new metal barrier had been installed by the council in a bid to prevent further trespass.
It cost the council just under £4,000 to clean up the site after six-and-a-half tonnes of rubbish was left behind.
Bassetlaw District Council leader, Simon Greaves said: “I am incredibly angry that following on from the last encampment, we now have another illegal encampment at Farr Park.
"Only the other day the MP raised the utter nonsense that the law currently is and how it needs to be changed.
"The residents are rightly angered and frustrated by the actions of these individuals who have broken off locks in order to gain access to the site and I am asking police to investigate the offence of criminal damage.
"This is an unlawful act and should no be allowed to go by the wayside.
"The council is going to be working through the legal process once again to regain possession of the site.
"We should not be having to do this whatsoever and it angers me that more and more taxpayers expense is going to be incurred in order to go through this ridiculous legal rigmarole in order to take land back.
"I encourage all residents to report matters and anything of concern to the police and there is not doubt all the agencies will be working together in order to bring this to a satisfactory conclusion.”
Coun Graves said access had been gained to the site this time by ‘breaking locks’ on gate used for access by maintenance teams.
He said there were legal sites elsewhere in the district where legal encampments could be set up.
"The council is required and does meet provision for traveller sites across the district and there are locations across the district for travellers,” he said.
"The government requires us to make provision for spaces for travellers in the community and we do that. There is no good reason whatsoever for this illegal encampment in Farr Park.”
Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smtih said: “I asked a PMQ on Wednesday about what the Government is doing to deal with illegal encampments and specifically mentioned Farr Park, so it’s disappointing to see another illegal encampment is now back, especially after residents were assured by the council that the site had been secured.
"The new laws allow authorities to take back control of trespassing with stiff penalties and immediate enforcement, but until then we must do everything possible to ensure they cannot gain access to land in the first place.
“On the previous occasion a terrible amount of mess was left, costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds and many also faced a great deal of personal abuse, which I’m already getting reports of.
"Enforcement action needs to be taken immediately and we need to make sure residents are adequately protected and their needs are met.”