Fury at travellers' rugby club camp

Travellers have taken to parking up at a rugby club, much to the annoyance of nearby residents.

Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:32 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 10:34 am
Travellers set up camp

It has become a regular occurrence for caravans to appear on the car park at St Pat’s Rugby Club on Harper Street in the last three months.

And despite the efforts of the people who run the club to move them on, the travellers keep coming back.

One resident, who contacted the Wigan Evening Post, said the noise the travellers made were making his life a misery.

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The man, who asked not to be named, said: “It is council property but they lease it out to the rugby club and said it is up to them to sort out.

“I am sure the club is doing what it can but it I think the council should do more to help. It is their land, surely they have a responsibility for how it is used. The travellers have been coming every weekend for months and sometimes there are up to 12 or 14 of them.

“They have dogs running around barking and electrical generators that go all night so we can’t have our windows open. It is really having an effect on us.”

But club committee member Joe Charnock, said the local councillors had been very helpful.

He said: “We have rung the council, who own the land, but they said it is our responsibility because we lease the land from them.

“But the councillors for our area have been great and have given us advice. One told me to handwrite an eviction notice so I did and the travellers left the next day. But when they came back I tried that again and they stayed for two weeks.

“They do have the generators running all night which I can understand could be a cause for complaint from residents.”

“We would as a club like to thank the community for their support. We will be installing a barrier to hopefully stop this nuisance. The club along with Wigan Council planning and Deputy Leader David Molyneux are working towards this.

“We are a totally unpaid voluntary organisation, so St Pat’s will have to raise the funds for the barrier. The clubs aim is to work alongside the community in whatever way it can to make the area a safer and better environment.”

Karl Battersby, director for economy and environment at Wigan Council, said: “We understand residents frustrations in this situation and we are working with St Pat’s Rugby Club to look at how they can stop vehicles such as caravans from gaining access to the site and parking on the club car park.

“The land at St Pat’s Rugby Club is owned by Wigan Council but is on lease to the rugby club. As part of the terms of that lease the responsibility to remove trespassers is with the club who have taken action on previous occasions to remove travellers from the site.”