Anger grows after another traveller influx at car park
August 29, 2008
Security at a Wokingham car park taken over by travellers several times a year cannot be tightened, despite the cost to taxpayers of cleaning up after the illegal encampments.
People living near the Easthampstead Road east car park have become even more frustrated at the encampments since last week when yet another group of travellers moved on to the land, which is owned by Wokingham Borough Council.
The group arrived with their caravans on Friday, August 15. The council acted to evict the group, however the legal process took several days to kick in.
The travellers finally left last Thursday, although one resident says they have used one part of the car park as a toilet and left mounds of rubbish.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “We are not having much success in keeping them out.
“We have asked the council to put in a barrier to keep the travellers out, but they will not do it.
“What we are particularly interested in is the cost to the taxpayer of cleaning up after the travellers have left.
“They are coming to the car park several times a year, so surely the cost of a barrier would be cheaper than the cost of the clean up?”
Last year in September when the travellers stayed in the car park for around a week, the clean-up cost to the council was £400.
A spokesman for the council said last week it expected the cost of the latest clean-up to be less.
But the resident added the travellers had also caused a lot of noise, with their generators running throughout the night and other activity on the site.
The spokesman said: “Wokingham Borough Council shares residents’ frustration at illegal traveller encampments on its land or anybody else’s and has examined methods of preventing travellers getting in to Easthampstead Road (east) car park.
“This would be impossible without limiting access for legitimate users.
“Certain residential and retail properties around the car park have legal rights of access through Easthampstead Road (east) car park and, therefore, approval from these property owners would have to be given for any barriers to be placed on access.
“Despite the borough council’s efforts, it has not been possible to gain this approval from all parties – for example, from some businesses that require access for delivery lorries.
“Wokingham Borough Council took legal action to remove the travellers from the car park as quickly as possible and all the travellers left the site by Thursday, August 21.”