Bill to stop travellers returning to Sheffield park could hit £70,000
Work to stop travellers returning to a Sheffield park could cost £70,000, though a councillor claims it can be done for a third of that price.
Around 50 caravans were driven on to Angram Bank Park in High Green earlier this month, with the occupants remaining for five days before leaving a huge mess behind when they left after being threatened with legal action.
Ecclesfield Parish Council held an emergency general meeting on Friday to discuss how to prevent squatters accessing the site, where travellers had reportedly set up camp four times previously, in future.
Parish councillor David Ogle, who called the meeting, said he had been quoted £26,040 to place around 100 sandstone boulders around the park’s perimeter.
He tried to persuade fellow councillors to provide the money out of the parish council’s budget so the work could be completed as soon as possible.
But the parish council resolved instead to write to Sheffield City Council, which is responsible for maintaining the park, to ask what action it plans to take.
Mr Ogle said parish councillors had talked at the meeting of getting the city council to fund a £70,000 project to safeguard the park and a neighbouring field against squatters.
The city council has been asked to respond by September 13, ahead of another parish council meeting three days later.
Mr Ogle said: “I’m pleased they didn’t kick this completely into touch but I’m disappointed that they didn't vote to take immediate action to get this work done.”
He added that there had been some discussion about whether boulders, railings or knee-high metal barriers would be the least intrusive.
Ann Whitaker, a Liberal Democrat city councillor for West Eccesfield ward, who attended the meeting, said: “We’re all working with council officers looking at numerous options for park hardening.
“We want the park to remain openly accessible and available to residents but we need to stop travellers camping there in future. Hopefully we will get a good outcome.”
She added that she had received numerous calls and emails from residents who were unhappy about travellers being in the park, and said ‘we want to make sure something is done before it can happen again’.
The Star has contacted Sheffield City Council to ask what action is planned.