Soil banks created to stop travellers getting onto park in Willenhall

Beefed-up security measures to protect a Willenhall park from illegal traveller camps have been installed.

Soil banks have been created at Coppice Farm in Willenhall to stop travellers getting on site following incursions during the summer. Photo: Adam Hicken
Soil banks have been created at Coppice Farm in Willenhall to stop travellers getting on site following incursions during the summer. Photo: Adam Hicken

Coppice Farm was one of a number of sites across the Walsall borough that saw incursions during the summer months, prompting concerns from residents and councillors.

In July, at least 15 vans drove onto Coppice Farm, which crosses the Walsall and Wolverhampton border.

The group got on via the Walsall side before eventually settling on the city patch.

Soil bunds, banks created from earth, have now been created around the Walsall side of Coppice Farm.

Ward councillor Adam Hicken said: “We have raced to get these defences in to try and stop further encampments from happening.

“The bunding will make it harder to tow vehicles onto the park and once the grass grows, they will blend in with the existing features of the park.

“Hopefully, these measures will keep our park protected and enable local people to continue to use the park.

'Cleaner and greener'

“We have seen an increase in people using it for walks and to increase their fitness during the pandemic and that is really great to see.

“Any time that an encampment appears on one of our parks, it disrupts people in more ways than you may first think.

“As we move forward we want to make our parks cleaner and greener, so we will continue looking at ways to make them more enjoyable.”

Councillor Oliver Butler, portfolio holder for clean and green at Walsall Council, said: “It is great we have been able to quickly respond to local residents concerns about the menace of these unwanted, unwelcome and undesirable traveller incursions.

“By extending the soil bunds we have increased the scope and extent of the physical defences around Coppice Farm in order to deter any further unwanted incursions, of the like we experienced during the summer.

“I would also like thank Councillor Hicken and local campaigner Stacie Elson, along with residents who brought this matter to my attention.

“I hope they will be pleased that Clean and Green has listened to and acted swiftly upon their very real and legitimate concerns regarding travellers.

“I am sure local residents will feel much more reassured, now these measures are in place and will sleep more easily at night now.”

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