Gallery: Barriers to stop more travellers illegally camping in Kesgrave will protect ‘vulnerable’ green spaces
Concrete barriers to stop more travellers illegally camping in Kesgrave were installed in the Grange Farm area of the town today.
Nine 2.5 metre wide barriers, known as K-Rails, were temporarily put up across five locations, including the green space area between The Farmhouse Pub and Cardew Drift where a group of travellers illegally camped for around four weeks.
Police stepped up their presence in Kesgrave on Thursday night last week after residents blockaded open areas with vehicles, farm machinery and brown wheelie bins amid social media rumours 100 more travellers were due to arrive to celebrate a religious event.
There were around 10 caravans and 20 vehicles at the site. The travellers were not joined by the rumoured 100 extra travellers.
The matter of the unauthorised illegal encampment, on land owned by Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC), was due to be heard in court this week before the travellers, who arrived on June 15, left on Tuesday.
The green space was extensively cleaned and reopened to the public at 3pm on Tuesday.
A SCDC spokesman said: “Suffolk Coastal District Council, through its partners Suffolk Coastal Norse, has moved to put in measures to prevent a repeat of the situation where travellers set up an unauthorised encampment on park land in Grange Farm, Kesgrave.
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“Across the wider Grange Farm site, we recognise there are a number of entry points to other public open spaces which could be at risk.
“These are being surveyed jointly by Suffolk Coastal, Suffolk County Council and Kesgrave Town Council to be considered for possible bollard-type installations and/or additional earthworks to be created, as part of future strategic planning.”
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Meanwhile, at a public meeting at the Millennium Jubilee Hall in Kesgrave last night, SCDC leader Ray Herring said: “The K-Rail barriers are a temporary measure in certain locations. One issue is access through the cycle routes but they have to be secured much better than they are now.”
Also present at the meeting were Suffolk county councillors Christopher Hudson, who chaired the meeting, and Robert Whiting, Inspector Roger Salmon from Suffolk police, Suffolk County Council east area highways manager Derek Oldham, Carol Poulter who was representing MP Dr Dan Poulter, district councillors of Kesgrave and members of Kesgrave Town Council, who were quizzed by members of the public.
One resident, Andrew Gould from Cardew Drift, said: “We hear about the welfare rights of travellers, but where does our welfare come?”
Another resident questioned whether the company the previous travellers operated under, Stone Cross Paving, could be held accountable for any of the cost.
A presentation was also shown where more permanent barrier solutions could be put in place, including green spaces at Pergola Piece, Cardew Green, Ashdale Green and Oak Meadows, and Fairbairn Avenue.
The matter of traveller provision is also set to be discussed at the council leaders meeting taking place today.
County councillor for Kesgrave Christopher Hudson, said: “It’s as if we have been stress tested over the last month and we have failed.
“People have been very upset – they have lost money, they have lost time, they have lost patience, and they have lost their peace of mind, and now we have got to get our heads together.”