Earth-mound plans to halt travellers on village playing fields

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Earth barriers are to be built up around playing fields to prevent travellers from accessing the site again.

Dozens of caravans and vehicles parked up on the Ferry Lane fields last week and were only moved after police intervention.

It is thought they are in the area for the upcoming Lee Gap Horse Fair in West Ardsley.

Junior football teams were forced to play elsewhere and rubbish was dumped on the fields, leaving Wakefield Council to clear up.

But Stanley and Outwood ward councillor, Matthew Morley, has said earth bunding is planned to prevent future access.

He said: “It will happen one way or another.

“They can cut posts down and have the equipment to move rocks but they can’t get the vehicles over the bunding.

“In the past few years we’ve had six or seven illegal encampments but this year was the biggest, there were about 40 vehicles.

“They had been driving over the football pitches, they had cut posts down and generally made a mess.

“I can understand the residents’ frustrations, it’s the anti-social behaviour and disregard for open public spaces.

“It’s the people that have to pay for it, £144 million has already been wiped off the council budget and every year we have to pay for this.”

Councillor Morley said some of the cash from £50,000 capital funds for the ward will be used to help pay for the work.

And he hopes it will start in the coming months.

Meanwhile, Stanley United Juniors’ football teams are still being forced to use alternative pitches on Rooks Nest Road because of the mess left by the travellers.

Club secretary Siobhan Chivers said: “The pitches are in a disgusting state, there’s not much grass on one and the smaller pitch has been churned up by their vehicles.

“This work needs doing - we had problems last year which also delayed our season.

“As a club, it’s not something we can budget for and we shouldn’t have to.”