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Conservatives seek urgent review of traveller protocol

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Conservatives are calling for an urgent review of how the Council and Sussex Police deal with unauthorised traveller encampments after a series of high profile incursions on to sensitive sites in the city.

Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, has written to the Council’s Chief Executive, asking for the matter to be debated at the next Policy & Resources Committee meeting on June 11th.

In his letter, Cllr. Theobald cites the recent examples of encampments on the Burial Ground at Woodingdean, St. Helen’s Green in Hangleton, Withdean Park and Hollingbury Park. In Hollingbury Park, travellers have twice now vandalised a chalk wildflower/butterfly bank which is maintained by local volunteers.

Cllr. Theobald said: “I am calling on the new Council Leader to put this issue at the top of his in-tray. I want to see an urgent review carried out, with Sussex Police, into how we can get a much more rapid response to incursions on our sensitive parks, gardens and playing fields. There are clear cases of criminal damage to public property yet nobody is being held accountable.  I suggested, a couple of months ago that officers look at the use of injunctions, along the lines of those introduced by both Leeds and Harlow councils, as I believe these could stop encampments happening in the first place. The Leader of the Council must get to grips with this ahead of the busy Summer season otherwise community relations will continue to deteriorate, and the considerable costs to the council tax payer will rise still further.”