fourth group of travellers on barony park in 2019

Angry residents are set to descend on Nantwich Town Council amid ongoing concerns around unauthorised traveller camps on Barony Park.

The fourth group of travellers to use the public park for an encampment arrived on Sunday – just an hour after the UK Triathlon event had finished.

Now residents and regular park users are demanding action from local authorities who they blame for failing to provide an official traveller site in the borough and for not pushing through park barrier plans.

In a statement to town and borough councillors, a spokesperson for the residents said: “I’m deeply concerned about rising public feelings in the local community in relation to this issue and that some residents are threatening taking the law into their own hands due to lack of action by the local authority.

“Residents feel they have been ignored for the last four years with minutes from meetings not even reflective of issues raised and blame being apportioned to Cheshire East and the Police. Long term solutions far outweigh short term costs.

“You were asked to present at this Thursday’s meeting the long term solutions to the issues and agreed timescales.

“No more fobbing off of local residents. Local settled travellers are very angry about the way they are now being treated. One is so angry he has even said he will manage the traveller site on behalf of Cheshire East.

“We are fully aware of Everybody leisure agreeing to fund proposed defences and other improvements and wish to know why Cheshire East have blocked this since February and also why when we met with Janet she did not disclose that the planning for the traveller transit site had lapsed in March 2018 – what has happened since and what are timescales for action?”

Nantwich News approached all three main political group leaders at Cheshire East – Sam Corcoran (Labour), Janet Clowes (Conservative) and Crag Browne (Independents) – on how they would address the issue.

Cllr Browne said: “The issue of a dedicated transit site was raised by our independent councillors for Nantwich North & West – Arthur Moran & Penny Butterill – at our group meeting and it is something that we will be calling for the new transition cabinet to consider as a priority, once it meets.”

Cllr Sam Corcoran added: “When the Cabinet positions are announced next week I will pass your query onto the relevant portfolio holder.”

We asked the following questions to Cheshire East Council:

– Why was the planning process on the proposed official Cledford traveller transit site allowed to lapse in March 2018?
– Who is responsible for allowing this to happen?
– Which sites have CEC now identified as potential transit sites?
– What stage (if any) is CEC at with regards to opening an official transit site where illegal encampments such as those on Barony Park can be moved to?
– Part of a £2m investment in Everybody leisure facilities can be used for barriers around the park. When is this going to be officially confirmed?
– What timeline is CEC working towards to have a boundary barrier in place?
– How much does it cost CEC every time an unauthorised encampment is in situ on Barony Park?
– What are the total costs in terms of man hours, legal/court costs, clean up hours, repairs to damages, loss of sporting facilities etc

Cheshire East Council replied, denying it was “holding up” plans for barriers around the park.

In a detailed statement, a spokesperson said: “We understand the frustration and concerns of the residents living next to Barony Park, which is one of a number of locations in the borough where unauthorised traveller camps tend to appear.

“The council takes the issue of dealing with unauthorised camps very seriously and a Gypsy and Traveller liaison officer is appointed to visit these sites and, following welfare checks, will serve an eviction notice where there is no genuine reason for the travellers to remain.

“If the travellers do not move on within 24 hours, then court action will follow.

“The cost of eviction and clean-up can vary. The cost to the council to obtain an eviction order through the courts is approximately £226.

“Clean-up operations are carried out by the council’s environmental services company Ansa and the cost of clean-up following the previous occupation on 29 April was £150, with some rubbish collected by volunteers and park staff.

“Security at Barony Park to prevent unauthorised encampments has always been a challenge.

“Reports that the council is holding up plans to invest a sum of money in security at Barony Park are totally incorrect.

“The council will have to assess the most effective way of tackling this problem borough-wide and not necessarily by targeting one specific location.

“Currently, Cheshire East Council and Everybody Sport and Recreation – the borough’s leisure trust – are working together to finalise plans for a £2m investment programme for Barony Park and Nantwich Pool.

“‘Everybody’ are currently preparing the detailed business case for this project, which will be considered once it has been presented to the council.

“Depending on the outcome, the council and ‘Everybody’ will consult with residents near Barony Park on a possible way forward to tackle the issue of unauthorised encampments.

“Cheshire East Council continues to work on a long-term solution to this problem and a feasibility study is being conducted to develop a potential permanent transit site in the borough.”

Members of the public wishing to report any issues relating to unauthorised gypsy and traveller encampments should call the new Cheshire and Warrington Gypsy and Traveller team at Cheshire West and Chester Council on 0300 123 7727.

Thursday’s Nantwich Town Council meeting will be held at Nantwich Civic Hall, starting at 7pm.

7 Comments

  1. This is a no brainer.
    The local authority have struggled with the identified transit site due to planning constraints – go and read.
    No one wants it on their doorstep so they work with what sites can suit all.
    The police don’t want to use their powers to remove illegal encampments under sec 61 due to them placing the children in vehicles and caravans to prevent towing. They can only be removed onto the highway. Oh and the cost of officer time and cost of tow trucks.
    As for everybody leisure being misquoted or rumoured to have said the funding is there .. It’s not part of the plan to spend the money on the measures to prevent encampments – why should it be and they can not afford the future upkeep. All the prevention measures are easily tackled – fencing removed bridges over trenches even digging through earth mounds.
    The councillors don’t have the integrity to be honest and fob off with daft excuses such as awaiting portfolio holders.
    Far too much self preservation!!

  2. It’s possible that my grandmother is turning over in her grave as to what is happening, being that she lies in Barony cemetery and used to live at No2 Barony Corner, to what is being allowed to happen to the park by CEC and not dealing with the issue.
    It needs to be sorted ASAP.

  3. Religion is totally irrelevant. It is a flagrant, illegal and inappropriate misuse of facilities financed by the taxpayer.
    I might drive my car across the park and see how long it will take the ineffective and cowardly authorities to knock on my door.

    • That said, I would welcome an opportunity for direct discussion. Perhaps that’s exactly what I should do!?

  4. Jill shore says:

    Barriers simple

  5. I Can Imagine so Many Against the Travelers are Christians..How Utterly Fake you all are..

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