Whitnash Town Council would like to thank residents living close to Washbbourne Field for their patience during the recent traveller incursion at the park.
Whilst there was a lot of trouble with the traveller incursion that happened last year, this time it involved a much smaller group, who by and large caused little or no trouble or anti social behaviour during the time they were there.
Because there were so few complaints about specific incidents, the Police did not invoke the Section 61 notice to move the travellers on at very short notice. The Police use this at their discretion if it is felt that incidents of anti social behaviour or criminality are at a level such that they need to act to move them on immediately. As these travellers caused no such issues, and the Police received so few reports of any trouble, they therefore did not have cause to use the Section 61.
The Town Council moved quickly on the Saturday morning to prepare the paperwork to serve to the travellers giving them 24 hours to vacate the site. However, they did not, at that point do so, and as the Police were not going to issue a Section 61 notice, the Town Council had to then go through the legal process followed by every council up and down the country that is faced with the same situation, and had to apply for a court order.
To get this required a slot in the court, and unfortunately, the slot given was several days away on the following Monday, by which time, the travellers would have occupied the park for around 10 days.
The travellers had all moved on by the Tuesday morning, but behind the scenes the council office staff, the Town Clerk, the Mayor, the chair of Hall & Playing Fields Committee, and several other town councillors, together with our Whitnash SNT Police team, were involved in trying to resolve the issue.
As a result, the defences at Chandlers Road and Washbourne Road have been significantly upgraded by the addition of soil mounds. These will be 'finessed' over time, and the intention would be to grass these over. The council would like to thank residents who helped councillors move some soil that had been delivered.
The Town Council will review security at the site, and consider more measures if necessary. Some measures are already under discussion.
Since the departure of the travellers, we engaged the clean up teams from Warwick District Council to remove rubbish and litter left behind by the travellers, and this was largely done within a day. There is some further clean up work to be done, but we hope this will be completed imminently.
Once again, many thanks to residents for their patience and understanding during this time. It must be stressed that both the council and the Police were in contact with these travellers throughout, and whilst their presence on the field was an irritation and inconvenience, they seemed to respect the park, and as a result, there has been no destruction of the field itself, or the play equipment, and the bulk of the rubbish was placed in the large wheelie bin that was provided (and which they requested).
Hopefully things will now return to normal, and residents can once more walk their dogs, let their children on the play equipment, or play football/basketball at Washbourne Field.
If you see anything that needs attention, please call the Town Council office to report it, or tell one of your councillors, and we will try to sort it as soon as we can.