Felixstowe: Action to be taken to prevent travellers’ car park camps

BARRIERS could be put up at certain car parks in Felixstowe this year to try to prevent a repeat of the traveller encampments last summer.

Land at the south seafront, and car parks at Garrison Lane and twice at Manor Terrace, Landguard Common, were visited by groups of travellers, often staying a week or more until court action was imminent.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal’s private sector housing team said the travellers’ visits had not cost the district’s taxpayers any extra as all the action taken was done as part of normal job roles.

“No extra funds have been put towards any investigation or enforcement action,” said the spokesman.

Welfare checks had been carried out on site but the occupiers very rarely stated where they had come from or where they were heading, and those that did often gave inaccurate information.

None were believed to have come from the Dale Farm site in Essex – where a mass eviction of travellers took place – and most said they were working in the area and only staying a few days.

However, action would be taken to make the car parks more secure and prevent the camps taking place – and “certain sites have been identified for barriers”.

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Car parks previously had height barriers at their entrances but these were removed because they prevented larger, legitimate vehicles – including the council’s own dustcarts – from entering the sites. Other prevention ideas are also being examined.

The council has also been asked by government planning inspector Mike Moore, who recently held a public inquiry into a number of topics contained in the blueprint Suffolk Coastal has put forward for the development of the district in the next 15 years, to consider land for provision of a transit site for gypsies and travellers in the area between Ipswich and Felixstowe.

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