Protecting Wakefield’s parks for summer events

travellers at Clarence Park
travellers at Clarence Park

Travellers will be stopped from setting up camps in the city’s parks this summer.

Police have put powers in place to guard to protect the parks ahead of major events.

Earlier this week officers from the Central neighbourhood police team issued a Section 61 Enforcement Notice to move on a group of travellers who had set up camp in Clarence Park.

The three-month order covers Clarence Park and Thornes Park and makes it a criminal offence for people to occupy land on either park without permission and to refuse to leave it within a stated time.

They issued the order after 15 caravans pitched up on Clarence Park on Saturday after they had moved off the former council site on Newton Bar. The travellers left the park on Tuesday.

Police will now be working with Wakefield Council to keep the parks free ahead of events scheduled for this summer.

Inspector Ian Williams said: “The land where this group chose to stop is used by the community for recreation purposes on a daily basis. Later this week there will be an event there and it is for this reason that we decided to take action and request them to move on.

“Driving vehicles on this land for even a short period of time causes damage which can take weeks and even months to repair. The cost to the council of cleaning up is significant. I will have no hesitation in taking similar action in the future.”

Police now have powers to make travellers leave privately-owned land but they and the council can also secure orders to remove them from land which is designated for public use.

Coun Maureen Cummings, cabinet member for environment and communities said: “The cost of damage and clean-up of unauthorised sites across the district can be very significant for us.

“With several festivals and events coming up in the summer months, we are working with partners to ensure we use the necessary means to move people along.”