Travellers to be evicted from park

Travellers at Crankwood Park in Abram
Travellers at Crankwood Park in Abram

A travelling community is set to be evicted from a children’s park which they have been occupying for several days.

The group have taken over the park and play area on Crankwood Road in Abram on Saturday, damaging the park gates and leaving a trail of rubbish in their wake.

They have damaged the double gates to gain access, the kids are hurling abuse at people walking by and they are flytipping at the top of the road

But bailiffs swiftly attended the site on Crankwood Road on Monday, and the eviction team was expected to clear the site on Wednesday.

One local resident, who wished not be named, said: “They have damaged the double gates to gain access, the kids are hurling abuse at people walking by and they are flytipping at the top of the road.

“This needs highlighting and more has to be done. They don’t have any regard for what space they use.”

Travellers had reportedly occupied the same patch of land as recently and late June, but again only for a period of several days.

Similar problems have been encountered across the borough.

Tempers flared last year when travellers caused damage to the Rose Centre in Lowton after a break-in and councillors urged the council to take action.

And Pennington Flash in Leigh has proved to be a regular camp location in recent years, so much so that long-term measures have been implemented to prevent people accessing the site, including the installation of barriers.

Issues like this recently prompted council chiefs to develop a borough-wide policy to tackle the rising number of unauthorised traveller camps.

The plans were adopted in January after it was revealed that the increase in encampments was causing serious concern for residents, and was saddling the council with heavy clean-up bills.

At that time, assistant director for environment Paul Barton said: “Protecting our land and beautiful green spaces is a top priority for us. We’ve developed a new policy to ensure we deal with any reports of unauthorised encampments in a manner that is consistent, in line with relevant legislation, and appropriate to each individual case.

“This allows us to serve notice on unauthorised encampments as soon as possible.”

The council’s website states: “Wigan Council recognises and accepts the rights of gypsies and travellers, together with all ethnic groups who have a particular culture, language or values. We must manage all unauthorised encampments on council land with consideration, recognising the need to balance the rights of the campers with the rights of the community to enjoy open spaces.”