Felixstowe: Height barriers not the answer to stopping traveller camps

COUNCIL chiefs have today reassured camper van owners that they will still be able to visit Felixstowe in future – amid worries that height barriers are to be put back at car parks to prevent travellers invading.

Suffolk Coastal council is carrying out a security review following a series of visits from the travelling community this summer.

Legal action is currently taking place to evict a group of large caravans, trucks and other vehicles from the Landguard Common car park, at the end of Manor Terrace.

Groups have also camped on the south seafront development site and Garrison Lane car parks in recent weeks.

One camper van owner said: “If they put the height barriers back, they might as well put up a sign saying Felixstowe closed – there will be no point in coming if we can’t park anywhere.

“We cannot park on street because many of our vehicles are just far too big and so the car parks are the only places we can go.”

After a series of traveller camps a decade ago, the council put earth bunds around recreation grounds and other vulnerable sites, and height barriers at the entrance to car parks to prevent caravans and other large vehicles gaining access.

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However, over the years, the height barriers have been removed.

A council spokesman said: “We are reviewing how we can make our car parks more secure from travellers, but height restriction barriers are unlikely to feature as we recognise that this would prevent many of our visitors with either camper vans or large 4x4s from being able to park.

“It would also cause us problems in emptying our recycling bins that are in some of our car parks.”

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