BOLLARDS AIM TO STOP TRAVELLERS IN THEIR TRACKS
A scheme designed to deter travellers from accessing Wolstanton Marsh is on the agenda.
The Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve the installation of 45cm high timber bollards around two areas of the Marsh where vehicle access is currently possible.
These two areas have been used by several unauthorised encampments in recent years, the last time being in summer 2017, which has caused considerable distress and upset to residents who have repeatedly asked their ward councillors for a long-term solution.
The proposal – supported and part-funded by Wolstanton residents – has been led by ward councillor Trevor Johnson, who is now the Cabinet member for environment and recycling. It is designed not to affect the open and green nature of the Marsh which is owned by the Duchy of Lancaster but managed by the Council under an agreement made in 1898.
Grants totalling £2,500 have been provided by county councillors Trevor Johnson and John Cooper.
Bollards would not be needed where there are existing deterrents such as embankments, kerbs, trees and other features.
Cllr. Trevor Johnson said: “The Marsh is enjoyed by families, walkers, dog owners and other groups of people who love and respect it. Every time it is taken over by travellers, there is anger and massive unrest in the community. It is not just their stay that’s an issue – which takes time and money to resolve – but also the damage caused, the mess left behind and the Council’s costly clean-up operation that follows.
“I began fundraising for the bollards back in the autumn and I was bowled over by the support of residents – and their financial contributions totalling £875 – so I would like to thank them for their help.
“The plans may help to deter travellers from using the Marsh again and reassure residents that reasonable preventative measures are being taken. They also directly contribute to the Council’s priority of maintaining a clean, safe and sustainable borough.”
Council Leader Simon Tagg, who represents the May Bank ward, added: “The Marsh has been regularly targeted by travellers. If we do nothing, this will continue and resident dissatisfaction will intensify. The Council will incur significant and unplanned expenditure in removing future encampments and clearing the land at a time when resources are severely limited. The idea is to protect the site in the best way possible.”
Cabinet will discuss the proposal at the Civic Offices on Wednesday, 17 January at 2pm. If it is given the green light, formal approval will be sought from the Duchy of Lancaster before a contractor is appointed.