Conservatives are calling for the large group of travellers currently camped at Preston Park immediately to be moved off by the Police and for other sensitive locations in the city to be properly protected ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend.
Around 30 caravans and other vehicles broke onto the Park on Wednesday but, rather than asking the Police to move them on immediately using the powers available to the Police, the Council has decided to use the much more long-winded route of obtaining a County Court Possession Order. This will mean that the travellers are able to remain in the Park over the Bank Holiday weekend.
The Conservative Group submitted Notices of Motion to Full Council meetings in October 2102 and July 2013 calling for a list of sensitive sites to be drawn up, such as parks, nature reserves and sports pitches from which any unauthorised encampments would be immediately moved on. Neither Green nor Labour parties supported the Conservative Group’s proposal.
Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald said: “Here we go again! I can think of no other town or city council in the country which would have a large encampment of caravans remaining on one their flagship public parks. I can well imagine that many residents and visitors who were planning to use Preston Park over the Bank Holiday weekend will no longer do so. The Council should have immediately asked the Police to use their powers to move the travellers off the park and taken steps to protect other sensitive sites in the city. If they took this more robust approach then the travellers would soon get the message that these places are off limits.”
Conservative Council Candidate for Preston Park Ward, Lee Wares, added: “Having spoken to a large number of residents in the ward it is clear that one of their main concerns is encampments such as this one. People just think that travellers should abide by the same rules as everyone else.”