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Bollards or gates could be used to hinder Travellers in one Norfolk town

PUBLISHED: 12:01 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:15 12 April 2019

Travellers at a car park in Norwich. Swaffham Town Council is considering putting in bollards or gates at public places around the town to deter Travellers. Picture: Archant

Travellers at a car park in Norwich. Swaffham Town Council is considering putting in bollards or gates at public places around the town to deter Travellers. Picture: Archant

Archant

Bollards or gates to ward off travellers could be put up at public spaces around a mid-Norfolk town.

Swaffham town councillors discussed the measures at their April meeting, following an unauthorised stay by Travellers at the Orford Road Playing Field in late February/early March.

Richard Bishop, town clerk, said councillors had asked for more details of what obstacles could be used to prevent Travellers from moving onto public sites.

Mr Bishop said bollards and/or gates, possibly custom-made to suit sites including the playing field and the Swaffham Recreation Ground, could be used.

He said: “We are trying to approach each site in turn. We’re doing a bit more research as to whether we’re doing the right thing before we invest the money.

“What we are doing is looking at all of our sites, because if we do secure one site it would leave other sites vulnerable.

“We identified there could be a problem at the Rec at some point in the future.”

Mr Bishop said, however, that it would be preferable to take action sooner rather than later.

He said: “The longer it gets from a Traveller incursion, people do tend to get a bit complacent and think it’s not going to happen again.”

Mr Bishop added: “If they are determined to get in, they will, but we want to put as many obstacles in their way as possible.”

Council staff spent three-and-a-half days clearing up litter and debris left at the Orford Road site after the Travellers moved on from there.

The council has also got a quote from a contractor, CGM Group, giving them outline figures of how much they would charge to clear up any future debris left by Travellers.

Mr Bishop said this could help them respond faster when a similar clean-up was needed again.

The Travellers’ stay in Swaffham has been followed by a number of others around Norfolk, including at Costessey park and ride site earlier this month, St Crispin’s Car Park in Norwich, the site of a former care home in Burgh Road, Aylsham, and on a Norfolk County Council site in Taverham.

Most Gypsies and Travellers living in caravans and mobile homes stay on authorised sites, which are owned either privately, or by a council or housing association.

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