West Hull residents want action to keep travellers off playing fields
RESIDENTS are demanding more is done to deter travellers from descending on playing fields in the Boothferry Road estate.
Councillors in the area have been discussing ways of improving security around Burnham Road playing fields.
Ideas being considered range from creating a mound and ditch to surrounding the fields with concrete bollards.
But some residents feel the issue should be tackled at a more profound level.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Sydney Renfree's home in Anlaby Park Road South backs on to the playing fields.
He said: "The security surrounding the playing fields is totally inadequate and we are pleased this is being looked at.
"I have only lived here for around two years but travellers have come on to this site three times in that period.
"But we don't want the playing fields to end up like Colditz.
"This is an area where people enjoy walking and children play in. There is also a football pitch.
"We don't want over-the-top measures.
"I think they should be looking at more effective laws to prevent this happening.
"There should also be more designated site for travellers."
Indeed, this is something the council is currently looking at.
This summer, residents across the city have been affected by travellers moving onto land close to their homes.
The travellers first arrived at Burnham playing fields in August before heading to land close to Kelvin Hall School, off Bricknell Avenue, west Hull.
From here, they moved to the site of the former Lambwath School, off Saltshouse Road, east Hull, before they then spent sometime on land earmarked for regeneration off Hawthorn Avenue in west Hull.
Latterly, they were in Priory Road but have since moved on.
During a meeting last week, the council announced it is considering a new temporary site in Hull.
Councillor Dean Kirk said: "We know the four existing sites in Hull are full and they have permanent pitches anyway.
"What we need is a temporary site where travellers can stay for five or six weeks before moving on.
"The current situation doesn't do anyone any favours.
"What we do now is time-consuming and costly for the council, it leaves our residents frustrated and the travellers are forced to move from one site to the next."
One option being considered is the possibility of creating a temporary site on land off Priory Road.
This is something Mr Renfree supports.
He said: "The council needs to ensure there are enough designated sites.
"It shouldn't take three months to remove travellers from an area.
"I have nothing against the gipsy way of life but the travellers on this site just don't seem to care.
"They take no part in community life while they are here and leave the playing fields in a mess.
"I considered refusing to pay my council tax at one point
"It is all very well to have security in place to stop them but it would be better if the law could do it instead."
But neighbour Peter Corlass would welcome anything to deter the travellers from the playing fields.
He said: "I have been on to my councillors about this for some time.
"I have been told there is a three-month period where the council can't do anything.
"I would be keen for security measures to be put in place.
"I know there is an issue with cost but I would like to see a metal fence right round the perimeter.
"The travellers have been on this site four times now and they will keep coming here I'm sure.
"Something needs to be done as soon as possible."
The council's west area committee launched an investigation several weeks ago.
Councillor Abigail Bell accepts there is a need to address the problem as soon as possible.
She said: "Residents set up a petition because they were so concerned with the situation which came to the west area committee.
"We have considered a number of options to improve security at Burnham Road.
"The cheapest we're looking at is £8,000 to create a mound and ditch up to £37,000 to put concrete bollards round the site.
"We will speak to residents in the next couple of months to see what they want."
However, it remains unclear where the money will come from.
Councillor Bell said: "We still don't have any community safety fund. The budget is £45,000 which would be ideal for something like this.
"It's difficult to provide assurances about funding at this stage."
Fellow councillor Pete Allen, who also chairs the safety scrutiny committee, backs the need for more action.
He said: "The present system isn't really working.
"We are now looking at providing a dedicated team to address the travellers' situation.
"We also think we should make an application to have them removed on the very first day.
"On the Burnham Road site itself, we need to make it harder for them to gain entry.
"We can't let the travellers run the show. We need to be more proactive."
Jane Price, an area director at the council, admits the current system is failing.
She said: "We have had a policy for removing illegal Gypsy and traveller camps since 2002 but it has become increasingly apparent it is time for a review because it has not been working effectively with this core group of travellers moving around different sites.
"Most of the time, we had to start the procedure to remove them from scratch, even though we were removing them from the same site on some occasions.
"That ended up being quite time-consuming and delayed our response to moving them on.
"It was also very costly for the council to deal with."