Return of travellers to Ipswich park poses ‘intimidation’ concerns

Travellers at Bourne Park Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Travellers at Bourne Park Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Authorities are taking action to “secure possession” of an Ipswich park after travellers set up camp.

Around 10 caravans and other vehicles are believed to have moved in to Bourne Park, in the south of the town, on Sunday evening.

The travellers’ arrival comes less than 18 months after a larger group of around 15 caravans caused concerns for residents after reportedly breaking a lock to gain access and leaving a major clear-up operation in their wake.

Conservative councillor, Bob Hall, who represents the Stoke Park division, said the last visit had caused “intimidation” to residents and suggested the council should have taken steps to prevent a return visit.

“I do feel the Labour administration has been rather slow in reacting to this,” he said.

Travellers at Bourne Park Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Travellers at Bourne Park Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

“This has happened before and it’s been known that this is a risk but nothing has been done to prevent their return.

“People do feel intimidated by these travellers and I can understand their intimidation.

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“Last time they visited, I was walking across the park when some of the young drivers came roaring across.

“So it’s not a surprise it puts people off taking their children to the park because they do not adhere to any sort of law.”

Tracy Grant, who also represents Stoke Park as a Labour councillor, said she understood the travellers had been engaging with authorities and did not believe there had been any serious problems.

“I’ve not really heard any complaints made to me,” she added.

“There were some concerns about taking children to the park but so far I’ve not heard any incidents that would be considered major.”

A council spokesman said: “We are aware of the situation and are taking all the necessary and normal steps, along with our partners, to secure possession of the site.”

A Suffolk Constabulary spokeswoman said: “Police are aware of a traveller encampment on Bourne Park and are currently working with the landowner, Ipswich Borough Council and partner agencies under agreed protocols around unauthorised encampments.

“Police have visited the site and will continue to monitor the situation.”