8th Dec, 2016

Barriers to be built at War Memorial Park in attempt to keep travellers out of car park

Shaun Reynolds 21st Apr, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

BARRIERS are set to be built at Coventry’s War Memorial Park in an attempt to prevent travellers from setting up camp in the main car park.

The move comes after dozens of travellers were evicted from the site at the beginning of the month, leaving a trail of litter behind for residents to clear up.

It is expected measures to prevent unwanted vehicles from entering the War Memorial car park will be completed in the next two to three weeks.

Coun Allan Andrews told The Observer that the barriers will save the council money in the long run and access to the park will not be restricted for standard vehicles.

He added: “I very much hope that the barriers can help resolve the issue of illegal encampments at the War Memorial Park.

“We’ll be erecting a height restriction barrier and bollards just inside the entrance to the park on the Kenilworth Road.

“The barriers won’t effect the public transport network and we have taken measures to ensure that some limited spaces will be available outside the restriction barrier to those that decide to visit the park in a campervan.

“The bus turning circle will not be affected by these changes.

“The new barrier will be similar to the current barrier in place at the Coat of Arms Bridge entrance – I’m confident our measures will enhance the feel of the park and make people feel welcome.”

It’s not the first time the city has installed bollards and barriers to restrict travellers from entering council owned areas of land.

Last year, the council installed bollards outside Spencer Park in Earlsdon after travellers camped at the site on numerous occasions.

Coun Andrews said: “The bollards at Spencer Park have worked well and we haven’t seen and problems since.

“The park looks well and the bollards do not diminish the appeal for people to visit.

“It’s a shame we’ve had to take action at the War Memorial Park but the travellers have left us no alternative – it’s the third time in a year we’ve had problems.

“In the long run, this investment will save the council money as it will prevent us from having to get the police, courts and bailiffs involved.

“We do have a responsibility to work together and the War Memorial car park is a piece of land obvious to set up camp on.

“If we was to protect every council owned piece of land in Coventry from travellers the cost would run into the early millions – we can’t justify that sum of money at the moment.”

Coun Andrews is also keen to find out why the illegal occupants decide not to use to designated site in Ryton.

He explained that the council would potentially invest in better facilities if that is what the travellers require in an attempt to save on legal costs.

He said: “There is a site for travellers to use and if they arrive in Earlsdon again I will ask them why they aren’t using this piece of land.

“We’re fed up of playing cat and mouse, as are residents and I’m sure they are too.”