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£30k fences plan to halt travellers in Hyndburn
9:14am Monday 22nd October 2012 in News
A PLAN could see high fences installed at a traveller hot spot.
Hyndburn Council plans to install fences to bar caravan access to Bolton Avenue Recreation Ground in Huncoat.
The plan, to go before councillors next week, is proposed to put an end to regular problems in the area with illegal encampments.
One traveller camp this summer saw several caravans on the pitches at Huncoat United Junior Football Club in Bolton Avenue, leading to fears that newly-reseeded playing surfaces have been damaged.
After complaints from residents and local MP Graham Jones, who lives just yards away, Hyndburn Council won a court order to remove the travellers.
A report to go in front of councillors said the new fencing would save funds as staff costs to remove encampments can be between £3,000 and £6,000 a time.
Although the fencing will cost £30,000, the council said it should make its money back in ten years.
Coun Nick Whittaker said he was delighted at the proposal to spend money on the problem. He said: “I think it is a great idea.
“We have had years and years of misery and mounting costs because of this issue.
“It’s worked in other areas and now it’s Huncoat’s turn to have some money spent on prevention rather than cure.”
The report to go before councillors said removal of illegal camps could prove costly.
It said: “Social services staff are often involved, especially if any children or vulnerable adults are present and there is usually a clear-up operation afterwards, which involves Environmental Services staff. The estimated cost of removing and clearing up after an unauthorised encampment is on average around £3,000 per occasion per site.
“This figure could double should court appearances be required.”
Council officers hope to repeat success achieved at Knuzden Recreation ground, which was a site routinely subject to encampments each summer until similar fencing made caravan access impossible.
The plan is recommended for approval to “reduce unnecessary distress caused by residents during such visits”.