Priti Patel visits Nantwich

Home Secretary Priti Patel was in Nantwich today to meet campaigners fighting to protect Barony Park from unauthorised travellers.

Ms Patel met with Friends of Barony Park group, led by campaigner Rachel Cole.

She met other members of the group as well as Conservative candidate for Crewe & Nantwich, Kieran Mullan, and viewed the park and discussed the options for protecting the perimeter.

Rachel Cole said: “It’s not every day the Home Secretary visits you at your home.

“She chatted with residents about the issues with the Barony Park, and the need to press ahead with changing the law to make trespass a criminal offence.

“We talked about the challenges for travellers and how obtaining transit sites would address this.

“It was reassuring to know that Westminster are keen to listen to residents and to support them.”

Ms Patel said: “As Home Secretary I am determined to help people suffering with these issues and hope we are returned with a majority after the election so we have the ability to make decisive changes to the law.

“I intend to make trespass of this kind a criminal offence. I was appalled to hear some of the things that have been happening at what is a fantastic local amenity.

“I am glad the local council are taking action on a perimeter now and I would ask them to think carefully about a court injunction. They are effective and in use across the country.”

Priti Patel and Rachel Wright

Priti Patel and Rachel Wright

Plans for a perimeter around the Barony have been agreed by Cheshire East Council, with a view to completion in Spring 2020.

Campaigners have called for a mixed approach with fencing, raised solid flower beds, extra trees and boulders in keeping with current character of the park.

Access points will be maintained for events like Food Festival.

Woodland Trust is also being approached to provide trees for planting and there is support for a community flower bed at corner of Park View and Barony Road which might include community vegetables and fruits.

Draft proposals are being worked on for the boundary. Meanwhile, Cheshire East Council continues to consider whether an injunction should also be pursued to prevent unauthorised encampments taking place before the boundary is complete.

priti patel with barony park campaigners

Priti Patel with Barony Park campaigners

Dr Mullan said: “It was really important for the person in parliament, who looks at these issues, to hear first hand
from residents what they experience when it comes to encampments especially in really important public amenities like the Barony Park.

“The Friends of Barony Park have campaigned patiently and constructively throughout and I really welcome Cheshire East agreeing to move forward with a perimeter using resident’s ideas.

“I hope we see progress in the very near future.

“And more importantly, if we improve the powers available to police and local authorities we can tackle this issue more widely across the area.”

Meanwhile, four of the six Crewe and Nantwich election candidates will be at Leighton Academy tomorrow (November 20) for a debate on education.

School leaders’ union NAHT wrote to all parliamentary candidates for Crewe and Nantwich to invite them to the event to ask them for their plans surrounding education in the area.

Conservative Kieran Mullan, Labour’s Laura Smith, Liberal Democrat Matthew Theobald, and Green Party’s Te Ata Browne are confirmed to attend so far.

Two other candidates are competing in the Crewe & Nantwich constituency, Matt Wood of the Brexit Party and Andrew Kinsman of the Libertarian Party.


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