Warwick Councillor threatened by travellers

A Warwick councillor was threatened by travellers this week when he tried assess they area where they had settled.

Saturday, 24th December 2016, 7:30 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:19 pm
A caravan has been abandoned where travellers were staying in Warwick.

Concerns are growing after travellers recently moved onto two sites near Hampton Road.

Nearby residents have been in contact with the police, Warwick District Council and Warwick councillor Martyn Ashford about the issue.

Acting on the concerns Coun Ashford went to the sites the travellers were occupying on Wednesday to assess the issue.

When he started to take photos he became surrounded by travellers who then went on to threaten him.

Coun Ashford said: “I went down there to get the feel for the area and to see how many caravans were there and there were quite a few.

“I started taking photos and then I was surrounded by travellers and they basically intimidated me and asked that I deleted the photos I had taken. Then one of them said ‘nice car that is’ at my car and I asked if he was trying to intimidate me and he just shrugged his shoulders.

“I am worried about this because the travellers move from site to site and one of the most difficult things is to extrude them from sites.

“I would warn everybody not to take on these people on their own and to leave it to the officials to deal with it. The situation can turn volatile if it is approached wrong. It is a frightening situation.”

There are also growing concerns about the mess that the travellers leave behind when they vacate a site.

Earlier this week The Courier reported that a caravan had been abandoned after travellers had left a site near Tachbrook Park.

Coun Ashford said: “The mess they leave is concerning as it has a huge environmental impact on the area. When I was there, there were nappies and other unmentionables on the public footpaths.

“Once the local plan is adopted we get a transience site so we have somewhere to send travellers and then we can charge them and if they leave the place in a mess they don’t get their money back.”

According to the Chase Meadows Residents’ Association’s Facebook page the travellers should have all moved on by December 27.

In their most recent post they said: “The group on the Racecourse car park adjacent to the grandstands: A Section 61 notice requiring them to vacate by 10am today (thursday) was issued based on a number of factors.

“That group refused to leave today (thursday) because one of their number was pregnant. As a result, the eviction was postponed until tomorrow (Friday) at 10am and the pregnant woman only would be allowed to stay (It is believed she will leave with the others tomorrow anyway).

“The group on the car park beside the stables: Despite the fact that Section 61 notice could be triggered, the Police and Warwick District Council have agreed with the group a departure on 27th December.

“Considering many aspects including the fact that their presence is not impacting car park use and they do not directly interfere with race preparations, the agreed departure date was considered by the Police/WDC to be “proportionate”.”