Residents fear return of travellers to estate

Travellers on the  green space in nearby Hatton Park.

Travellers on the green space in nearby Hatton Park.

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Residents of Hatton Park say they fear the return of travellers who set up a temporary camp on a community green space near their homes.

Over the weekend a group of nine caravans illegally parked on land next to Mollington Grove on the estate.

On Monday morning the occupants of the camp were served with a notice to leave the site within 24 hours by officers from Warwick District Council.

The caravans began to leave that evening and had all gone by Tuesday lunchtime.

This comes after the district council resurrected controversial plans for a permanent 15-pitch Gypsy and traveller site nearby at Oaklands Farm.

One resident, who did not want to be named, told the Courier: “We are concerned that a permanent site would encourage more travellers to the area and therefore using the village green as an overflow could become a common occurrence.”

Other residents went online to express their anger about the arrival of the travellers. One said: “We aren’t taking it.” Another said: “Local children who usually play on the green are no longer able to do so.”

A spokesperson for the Hatton Park Residents’ Association (HPRA) said: “We were very disappointed that travellers decided to set up camp on our peaceful village green, preventing our residents from using it as they normally would for pleasure and recreation.”

Warwickshire Police visited the camp after receiving several complaints about antisocial behaviour which included the playing of loud music in the early hours of Sunday morning.

On Tuesday afternoon, after the last caravan had left, a number of residents gathered to clean up litter and rubbish left behind on the green.

Katherine Skudra, clerk of Hatton Parish Council, said: “The clean-up effort shows the strength of the community spirit we have here and is one positive thing to come out of this.

“But residents are worried and there will be discussions about how to prevent this happening again.

“I expect people will suggest putting up gates or barriers but we don’t want the green to be turned into some kind of fortress.”

The district council is proposing to redraw the green belt to make way for the proposed Gypsy and traveller site at Oaklands Farm.

Hatton Parish Council has objected to the idea and is inviting residents to attend an open meeting - on August 26 at Hatton Park Village Hall - so they can hear from councillors and council officers and make their voice heard.

The HPRA and Hatton Park Action Group are also campaigning against the plan.

In a statement, the HPRA said: “Residents are opposed to the erosion of the green belt and also have concerns about the obvious danger posed by the additional traffic that this proposed travellers site alongside the A4177 will cause.

“There have been a number of accidents in recent years along this stretch, some of which have been fatalities.

“Our residents believe that there must be a more suitable non-green belt site in Warwickshire which can be recycled to meet the needs of the travelling community rather than developing on protected green belt land.”