Petition calls for better security at green space in Wick after travellers leave

Dozens of residents have signed a petition calling for better security at an open space in Wick which was recently occupied by travellers.

Litter left at the site was cleared up by a member of the public
Litter left at the site was cleared up by a member of the public

The group left on Wednesday after spending over a week at the Water Lane site. It is believed they gained access by cutting through a steel pole.

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said the main issues were noise and litter – which he said included nappies, human waste and dog mess – much of which was cleared up by a member of the public.

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Some members of the group were also using air rifles to shoot at wildlife such as wood pigeons, according to the resident, who added there was a ‘degree of intimidation’ with some locals being shouted at.

The resident said: “They are just not winning the hearts and minds of local people by their behaviour.”

He said the petition’s supporters did not want to be ‘NIMBYs’ but added: “A lot of people felt they couldn’t take their children or grandchildren onto the field to play football or catch.

“It’s only about half an acre in size but it’s well-used by young families and dog walkers.

“When travellers are there it effectively blocks out local people from using it.”

Most residents had been ‘very supportive’ of the petition, he said, which calls for increased measures to stop caravans from entering the field.

While he said the council was doing the best it could under difficult circumstances, he added: “What we are trying to do with the petition is show them that local people are not happy and that we will band together within the law to do as much as we can to make sure our council charges are spent wisely and carefully.”

An Arun District Council spokesman said it was already planning to place earth bunds in strategic locations to prevent access into the site.

The resident welcomed this but said it should be ‘part of a package of measures’, suggesting another solution could be a height-restricting barrier.

Residents also want to ensure that court orders are enacted ‘as speedily as possible’ and that these are communicated to residents, he said.