Kieran Mullan addresses Barony Park crowd

More than 200 people attended a Barony Park protest in Nantwich today to pressure Cheshire East Council into action against unauthorised traveller encampments.

The latest encampment was served with a rare Section 61 order by police on Thursday after it emerged a local authority official was verbally abused by travellers.

They were given the notice to leave by Friday (yesterday) 9am, but left on Thursday night.

And it has also emerged that a Cabinet councillor at Cheshire East has now been banned from communicating with a Friends of Barony Park spokesperson.

Rachel Cole lodged a formal complaint to the authority for its inaction in preventing unauthorised encampments by not applying for an injunction, not providing a transit site, and not pushing ahead with perimeter boundary measures.

travellers on barony park September 2019

Travellers were served with Section 61

But in correspondence seen by Nantwich News, Cllr Mick Warren, Cabinet portfolio holder for communities, says he has been told by legal advisors not to communicate.

He wrote: “As cabinet member with responsibility for unauthorised encampments, I had been keeping The Residents of Barony Park through Rachel Cole, up to date with our progress with regards taking barristers advice around injunctions, speaking with the eastern area Police Superintendent about a perceived unwillingness by residents to invoke their S61 powers; seeking assurances from The Police Crime Commissioner that senior officers who make decisions about the use of these powers are up to date with training etc.

“However, following a formal complaint made against the council, I was advised by our legal team not to communicate further with Mrs Cole which I informed her of by telephone voicemail message.”

Kieran Mullan, who led today’s protest with Rachel Cole, called the move “extraordinary”.

Dr Mullan, Conservative Party candidate for Crewe & Nantwich, said: “I find it extraordinary that the Council position is that it will now refuse to engage with a resident that in good faith has worked hard to represent residents over this issue.”

In writing to Cllr Warren, he added: “I suggest you use your personal judgement and tell the legal team that you will not be following that particular bit of advice. Civil servants advise, politicians decide!”

protest -barony park protestors

Barony Park protest

Both Ms Cole and Mr Mullan spoke at today’s protest which attracted around 240 people, with another 90 issuing apologies for not being able to attend.

Some Nantwich town councillors and local police also attended.

Addressing the crowd, Ms Cole spoke passionately about the fight they will continue against Cheshire East Council.

She said: “We need to show CEC we will not give up and not go away.

“We will keep shouting until they hear us.

“None of us want to be here today, we’re all busy people, but we care about our park.

“We have simple requests – get a court injunction, sort the perimeter boundary with us, and get a transit site.

“I want to thank Kieran (Mullan) for the way he has encouraged us. He has had chances to score political points but hasn’t.

“And I want to thank Nantwich Police and Nantiwch Town Council for their ongoing support, and hopefully financial support if we need funds to build our own perimeter.

“We will continue to pressure Cheshire East. They need to know we are not going away.”

The large crowd gave a rousing round of applause at the end of her speech.

She told Nantwich News after: “It’s been really positive today, we’ve had 236 people attend from all over town and 91 apologies.

“The pressure will continue to grow on Cheshire East. More people have signed up and joined our campaign, we’re getting stronger.

“We held it at the park today because some of the elderly residents did not want to travel to CEC offices in Sandbach. And after all, this is about our park.”

Sgt Ian Bennett, who attended, confirmed the latest unauthorised group of travellers were served with a Section 61 after due to “public order abuse” committed against Cheshire East Council representatives.

Current Crewe and Nantwich MP Laura Smith was invited but gave her apologies.

Cllr Allen Gage, Cheshire East councillor for Willaston and Rope (Con), also attended the protest.

He said: “I fully support an injunction and want Cheshire East to act ASAP, and have also canvassed residents on this issue during the summer.”

Rachel Cole addresses the Barony Park crowd

Rachel Cole addresses the Barony Park crowd

17 Comments

  1. The old gas works site behind the shops on Welsh Row would be ideal for for a transit site.
    Police could then use their powers to direct travellers to go there.

  2. It’s blatantly obvious the CEC are happy with them using the barony as a camp site. Not only have they not done anything to stop it but they’ve made it crystal clear that they don’t care. As always it comes down to money, it’s cheaper and easier for them to ignore this and let them use the park rather than fight it and/or get a proper site in place.

    Other people asked the question about what would happen if it was the councillors being threatened by the travellers, now we have an answer.

    If they’re not careful this will blow up in their faces because a lot a Nantwich residents are angry about the total lack of action from CEC.

  3. Why are CEC withholding this information, why not release their findings, how can anything progress if they have taken advice then will not release it to the voting public. The enquiry and advice was pursued to advance a solution but for some reason won’t release the findings, it seems the answer they received must have been detrimental to them.

  4. The next thing we’ll see is someone coming out of the woodwork bleating about travellers rights? Like the council employee, we have been verbally abused by these travellers, and threatened when we refused to ‘pay’ in order to walk across the park? These ‘travellers’ don’t respect anyone’s rights, they should be arrested on the spot! Enough is enough!

    • We need to record and submit ALL evidence of ASB, insisting on a crime number.

    • A massed kickabout in and around the vans, on the next visit, with friends who couldn’t hit a barn door if they tried, has to be our next move.
      I’m not intimidated. Bring it on!!

  5. Well done all the Nantwich loyal who aided this.

    I was there and many others showing support too. Peter Groves my Cheshire East Councillor was there talking to and thanking residents all morning. Peter has always stood up for us when asked and I am trusting in him to advocate for us on the council.

    Well done to all involved. What a show of support from Nantwich people, everyone standing together for Nantwich. Let’s go team Nantwich!

  6. Comments on here spot on. The travellers are abusive, drive over pavements and force their way out onto main roads and chase the police off, as I witnessed myself. They abuse and intimidate the council tax paying population, but that is irrelevant until a council officer is abused.

    I hope the home owners around the Barony sue the council for de-valuing their property prices. Utter joke.

  7. Nnot surprised our usless mp didnt turn up. lets hope shes out of a job soon

    • Meanwhile, her Tory counterpart is spearheading the campaign, with Fiona and the Nantwich people.
      Perhaps Crewe is more worthy of her time, over Nantwich
      How short-sighted!

  8. Totally agree. I hoped that the ‘travellers’ were still present at the meeting!!

  9. So they are served with a section 61 when a councilor is verbaly abused but won’t serve one when a member of the public is punched sworn and spat at and numerous people are threatened with being run over in the middle of the park by a car. This country is a joke!
    I bet you any money they served them with a section 61 because they didnt want any trouble with the locals at the protest. What a shame they don’t deal with it that quickly generally.

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