I am pleased to report that the travellers have now left Westminster Park.
A new padlock has been fitted to the gate into the playing field and the Council will be cleaning up the rubbish left behind and repairing any damage.
We extend our sympathies to local residents and users of the park who have been disrupted by the unauthorised incursion by the travellers and to Golfstorehouse whose golf course and cafe business have been adversely affected. At the same time, we are very grateful to the Council and to the police who have dealt with the incident very promptly and efficiently.
We shall be arranging a meeting shortly to review any lessons from the event and to consider any implications and means for reducing the risk of future incursions.
Friends of Westminster Park
Many residents and park users have been asking about the unauthorised encampment in Westminster Park by a group of travellers who arrived on Sunday, 3 July.
The matter was reported promptly to Cheshire West and Chester Council and to the police who are actively dealing with it. Notice has already been served on the occupants to vacate the land by Tuesday, 5 July. If this is not carried out, the Council will apply to Chester Magistrates Court for an eviction hearing.
In reply to a number of questions, trespass on land is not a criminal offence and has to be dealt with through well established civil processes. The removal of trespassers is the responsibility of the landowners and the role of the police is to preserve the peace and prevent crime.
Two councils that we are aware of have produced general Q&A statements. These can be found at:
Cheshire East: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/housing/strategic_housing/gypsies_and_travellers.aspx
Equivalent documents have not been found on the Cheshire West and Chester website but the same general principles apply.
David Guyton – Chairman