New height restrictions to combat travellers invading Dunes car park 

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The time before last that dozens of ‘travellers’ invaded the Dunes Leisure Centre western car park, local Councillor Tony Dawson wrote to the Council suggesting that they should consider putting a ‘height limit’ bar over the car park entrance.
The Council said this couldn’t be done.They said that the Council themselves needed access to the car park sometimes in high-sided vehicles.

Since Councillor Dawson thought that these would be pretty rare occurrences, he then suggested the installation of height restriction bars over the entrance secured by heavy padlocks. The Council STILL said it couldn’t be done. After all, the Council said, the travellers would quite likely just cut the padlocks with bolt cutters and drive in anyway.

Although the most recent set of travellers to park on the car park were reported by residents to commit criminal damage elsewhere to break into the former Birkdale Blind School and Deaf School sites, Councillor Dawson did not feel that all groups of travellers would behave like this and the money would be well spent. But the Council disagreed and did nothing. So, Councillor Dawson was pleasantly-surprised, therefore, to return to Southport from a month working in America to find that someone in the Council had clearly changed their minds on the issue.

Councillor Dawson says:

“I did not find it acceptable that the Council should essentially have given up in the face of the prospect of likely criminal action. If you carried that mind-set through to other areas of life, we would tolerate burglary, shoplifting, assault, speeding and dozens of other crimes big and small by turning a blind eye all the time.”

Many Travellers are law abiding people from families who simply prefer to follow a centuries-old itinerant lifestyle rather than live in flats or houses. They mostly live in Council-runs sites like the one which Sefton MBC has at Red Rose Park, Broad Lane, Formby. The trouble is that as the Council themselves admit:

“We do not provide a transit site for Gypsies and Travellers moving through the borough seeking a short stay. As a result this can lead to unauthorised encampments.”

 

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