Residents urge Dunmow Town Council to take action over traveller encampments

Travellers set up camp on Dunmow's recreation ground this April, to the dismay of some residents. Pi

Travellers set up camp on Dunmow's recreation ground this April, to the dismay of some residents. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Dunmow councillors were quizzed by residents over what action they had taken to prevent illegal encampments on the town’s recreation ground, days after travellers arrived on the land for the third year running.

During the extraordinary town council meeting on April 11, several people aired their views about the travellers’ presence on the recreation ground.

The travellers arrived on the green between April 8 and 9 and had left by April 16 after they were given a court notice to leave.

Martin Sycamore, whose property overlooks the recreation ground, told the meeting: “This is the third year running we have had the Gypsies ruining the recreation ground. Last year they left the place in quite a state and the council paid to have it cleaned and put the railings back that someone had pulled out. We are fed up of it. We want to see what should be done with it.”

Mr Sycamore added: “It is there for everybody’s use, not for them to use for a fortnight.”

A resident of Counting House Lane, who overlooks the recreation ground, claimed travellers were riding quad bikes on the ground and using chainsaws at 11.30pm.

A man, who also did not want to be named, told councillors: “I think the rest of Dunmow are tired and disappointed by the lack of action we have seen over the last three years. I think we need as a town and as residents to employ whatever we can, including the press to put pressure on the police to do what they need to do.”

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Dunmow Town Council clerk, Caroline Fuller explained that the council had parked one of its vans in front of the recreation ground, which the group “manhandled” in order to gain access.

Councillor Barrie Easter, mayor of Dunmow, said at the meeting: “This time they did cut and break a lock to get in so what more can you do? But we are thinking about another way around it.”

The mayor told the Broadcast that he had been thinking of ways to prevent travellers accessing the recreation ground and suggested that erecting steel posts near the end of the car park which leads to the ground would prevent tall vehicles such as caravans entering.

He added: “We are concerned about other places in Dunmow. Do we make Dunmow Fort Knox and cover every bit of grass and ground with posts and fences? It doesn’t seem natural.”