Travellers leave Whitehouse Park in Ipswich after a weekend next to the playground
- Credit: Archant
A Suffolk MP has called on the county council to work harder to find temporary pitches for travellers after a group moved on to an Ipswich park over the weekend.
Three caravans moved on to Whitehouse Park beside the children’s play area in Ipswich late on Saturday afternoon after a gate from Norwich Road was forced and three caravans pitched up.
They left late on Sunday afternoon, and officials from the borough made sure the park was secure and took steps to ensure no one could get unauthorised vehicles on to the land
For Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter, this weekend’s arrival has been the fourth time that travellers have moved on to prominent public land in his constituency over the last year.
He said: “I shall be contacting the county council as a matter of urgency to point out that it is vital that a workable solution is found – both for the travellers and local residents.
“There has to be somewhere made available for the travellers, and residents need to be able to use their local facilities like parks without having caravans pitched on them.”
A spokesman for the borough said it was vital to close the entrance on to Norwich Road because it was not an access for vehicles, and any car or caravan that did try to use it would be putting traffic in real danger.
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He said: “We can confirm that a group of travellers has moved on to borough council-owned land at Whitehouse Park.
“On the advice of the Police we have re-locked the gate on to the busy Norwich Road and opened another one as everyone’s safety is of paramount importance.”
The gate that was opened off Limerick close was locked and secured as soon as the caravans moved off.
It is the second time in a fortnight that travellers have moved on to council land in the north west of the town.
At the end of July a group of travellers set up a camp on Bramford Lane Recreation Ground, just a short distance from Whitehouse Park.
The arrival of the travellers has put more pressure on local authorities to find adequate accommodation for them – the county council has had two attempts to find official temporary sites for travellers in Suffolk over the last two years but neither has proved successful.
It is much easier for councils to evict travellers who have arrived unlawfully if there is an official temporary site they can be sent to.