MP calls on Cheshire East Council to tackle illegal traveller camps on Barony Park

MP Laura Smith has been teaching her nephew to ride a bike on the Barony

The MP for Nantwich is asking Cheshire East Council to take action to secure Barony Park - and provide permanent sites for travellers.

It is after a number of illegal camps have been set up on the site in recent years.

The authority says it has received 18 reports since 2014, including three since the start of this year.

MP Laura Smith said: “The impact that recent events have had on the community shouldn’t be underestimated. Like most other local people, I’ve got plenty of memories growing up on the Barony and I’ve been taking my children there since they were born. We are lucky to have these excellent public facilities in our community and we need our council to protect them.

"For ten years, the Conservatives running the council have failed to provide a permanent site for travellers and this has left our local police with limited powers when responding to unauthorised camps.

"In the meantime, urgent action must also be taken to secure the perimeter. I am told that proposals have already been drawn up and await the council’s approval. The available funds should be released as soon as possible, so that work can begin to secure this important public space.

"I have spoken with Cllr Arthur Moran, who I know shares my frustrations and has been calling for action for some time. Resolving this issue for our communities must be a top priority for the new council leadership. We all hope and expect to see swift decisions being made in the near future.”

Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for communities, said: “The council has a responsibility to address all housing needs – including those of Gypsies and Travellers. It is fully aware of the impact of unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller encampments on local communities.

“Cheshire East Council continues to explore the options for a permanent Gypsy and Traveller transit site. We are in the process of undertaking a feasibility study at Cledford Hall [in Middlewich] and will establish the cost of development. 

“While this work is carried out, we are considering other mechanisms to deal with the increase in unauthorised encampments.

“We recognise that this is an important issue to residents and communities and we are seeking a long-term solution to it.”

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