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Barriers To Be Installed In Chichester Car Parks To Prevent Unauthorised Encampment

Wednesday, 15 May 2024 17:29

By Karen Dunn, Local Democracy Reporter

Chichester District Council is to spend £66,000 to prevent gypsies and travellers from pitching up in two of its car parks.

The money was approved during a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday (May 14) and will be taken from reserves.

It will be used to install barriers to stop high-sided vehicles – such as lorries and caravans – from entering the Northgate and Cattle Market car parks.

The decision comes less than a year after £140,000 was approved to install earth bunds at Florence Park, Oaklands Park, Whyke Oval and Sherborne Road.

And almost £70,000 was approved in 2021 for bunds at New Park and East Broyle.

Harsha Desai, cabinet member for growth & place, said there had been a number of unauthorised encampments in council-owned car parks, mainly in Northgate and Cattle Market.

She added:

“Complaints from the public and local businesses have increased and car parking spaces reduced as a result of the encampments.

“Bunds have been introduced into green areas in the district to assist with preventing unauthorised encampments [but] effective deterrents are more difficult for car parks, with these measures generally being height barriers.”

Tania Murphy, divisional manager for place, told the meeting that a number of operational issues needed to be worked through to make sure that some high-sided vehicles could get into the car parks – such as when the annual Sloe Fair takes over the Northgate site each October.

She added that Chichester Festival Theatre, which sits next to Northgate car park, was in favour of the restrictions.

Ms Murphy said that, when it came to moving unauthorised encampments out of the car parks, West Sussex County Council worked with Sussex Police while keeping the district council informed about what was happening.

Leader Adrian Moss said:

“I think it is really important that our partners West Sussex County Council and the police understand the real enormity of this and the work we’re doing.

“And hopefully they’ll be working closely with us in the future to ensure that when we do get incursions, we can actually move them on and ensure that the police come forward and support us at the earliest possible opportunity.”

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