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Several new measures have been introduced at a car park in Weston-super-Mare in order to prevent “unauthorised” groups of travellers from camping. North Somerset Council said that it had no choice after facing “constant” issues with the unlawful encampments.
The new measures, which are being introduced at Hutton Moor Leisure Centre, include new height restriction barriers.
This, the council hopes, will prevent any vehicles over 1.2 metres from entering the car park.
The measures are meant to target caravans and motorhomes, Bristol Live reported.
However, the council will leave parking spaces at the front of the leisure centre untouched.
This in turn will allow vehicles over 1.2 metres to access disabled and parent-child spaces.
The area, however, will be locked overnight using telescopic bollards.
Parking hoop barriers will also be added in some areas of the car park to add extra security.
On top of that, an automatic barrier will be installed towards the back of the car park which will be the main access for deliveries for the leisure centre and adjacent hotel and restaurant.
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Temporary signage is in place while the works are taking place with more permanent signs to follow, North Somerset Council has said.
Cllr Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods and community services, said: “We are having to introduce these measures to combat the constant issues the leisure centre has experienced of unauthorised encampments in the car park which cause issues for the leisure centre staff and users.”
This is not the first time that British councils have struggled with unlawful traveller camps.
Approximately 20 caravans and other vehicles moved onto the green space at Pickering Park in Kingston Upon Hull on May 17.
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Bollards by Pickering Road in Hull were reportedly removed giving the vehicles access to the park.
In addition to the parked vehicles, there were also horses grazing on the grass.
Last year, a travellers’ camp of approximately 90 vehicles, reportedly the largest unauthorised encampment in Hull for decades, settled in Pickering Park.
A court order was issued within a week, giving the travellers 24 hours to leave the field in west Hull.
The order was complied with.
People flocked to Hull Live’s Facebook page to share their opinions.
Gillian Louise Hall said: “Live and let live, they’re human beings with a traditional way of living that have on gone on for donkeys’ years, jeez have people got nowt better to moan about?
“Yeah I get some leave places a disgrace which I don’t condone, but my god there’s a bloody war going on, people haven’t got homes, puts this into perspective!”
Paul Blyth also defended the travellers: “Good for them, what a fantastic community. I suppose nobody that’s opposing this has ever been to Hull fair? Same thing, different park.”
But others were not so welcoming.
Francesca Lilly Warburton commented: “I’ve just driven down there and they’re stacking bin bags at the side of the road already.
“Those saying live and let live have no idea of the mess these folk leave behind, they have no respect for anywhere they rock up, and quite frankly, no morally decent resident wants to be living around it.
“Hopefully the council will get them moved ASAP”.
And Paula Sasse said: “Shameful, I witnessed them first-hand last night getting onto the field.
“Poor kids who do football training on there have nowhere to train now”.
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