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Travellers move on to Penn playing fields again - PICTURES and VIDEO

By Dayna Farrington | Penn | News | Published: | Last Updated:

A councillor has urged council bosses to act with 'urgency' after travellers invaded a park for the fourth time in a year.

More than a dozen caravans turned up at the Windsor Avenue playing fields in Waldren Gardens, in Upper Penn, in the early hours on Saturday morning – bringing a fresh nightmare for residents living nearby.

It is the fourth time travellers have set up camp at the park in the last 12 months – despite a height restriction barrier being installed in April.

The barrier appeared to have been cut during the latest incursion, according to Penn Councillor Paul Singh.

Police were at the site on Saturday.

WATCH: Caravans arrive on the playing fields

Caravans pulled onto Windsor Avenue playing fields in Penn

In May we reported that Wolverhampton City Council is to apply for a wide-ranging injunction, with leaders growing increasingly frustrated at their inability to shift travellers quickly enough.

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It followed concerns the city could become the go-to destination for travellers after neighbouring councils armed themselves with tougher powers.

The injunction, which will be sent to the High Court for consideration, would protect 60 sites in the city.

One of the barriers which councillors say has been damaged

It is hoped it will be in place by the end of the year.

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Councillor Singh, an opposition Conservative, said: "We have got yet again another traveller incursion at Windsor Avenue playing fields – they pitched up in the early hours of Saturday morning.

"This is the fourth time in the space of 12 months that they have pitched up here. The first time it cost a lot of money to remove them and tidy up the area, then we were faced with another incursion – and now they are back again.

Cllr Paul Singh looks at the damaged barrier

"After the second incursion the council decided to put up the height barrier which appears to have been cut.

"I have been pushing for a city wide injunction to protect our green spaces, which other authorities have in place. It really needs more urgency because it is costing us thousands.

"We need the urgency – we have had travellers in Heath Town, Oxley, Penn. We are just being too slow.

"Residents in the area won't be able to use the facility this weekend with the nice weather.

"Wolverhampton is a soft touch. It is the residents who are suffering. It is not just a one off, it keeps happening – it is an on-going problem which is costing us thousands. We need to find a solution."

A spokesman from West Midlands Police said: "Police were notified of a group of travellers with caravans moving onto Windsor Avenue playing fields, in Penn, at just before 2am today.

Caravans pulled onto the fields this weekend

"We are working with the local council to resolve the situation."

Five caravans moved on to the car park on April 2, with three more following the day after. They were moved on by police on April 4.

The arrival of around 30 caravans on the fields in January prompted large-scale calls for action to protect parks and fields in the area. Wolverhampton Council faced criticism over the speed in which the visitors were moved on. It was more than a week before the group was finally forced to leave.

It was the third time travellers have targeted the land in a matter of months. Neighbours complained about nuisance and fires on the site while the travellers were on the land in January and the mess left behind once they were moved on, including bricks, plastic and parts of a sofa.

Additional security measures were also installed in February, which included new steel magpie posts, locakable bollards and improvements to existing security devices.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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