Update: Travellers on Whiteland Way Evicted

Published: 9th August 2018
Categories: News, Alerts

The travellers were evicted from the Whiteland Way open space on Wednesday 8th August and the site cleaned up on 9th August. The Parish Council contractors are on site carrying out protective works.

Security of Clanfield Parish Council Land and Facilities at Windmill View

Now that the travellers have been evicted from the top field at Windmill View, we are writing to address the understandable questions and concerns which residents have raised in the last few days about the security measures that we are implementing and to explain the additional steps that we are now taking.

Top Field

The background to the works which have been in hand since this land was transferred into the ownership of the Parish Council on 16 May 2018 is:

  1. In October 2017, the Parish Council applied for planning permission to construct a bund which would have been 76cm high. The Landscape Officer of East Hampshire District Council did not support the height of the proposed bund and the steepness of its gradient and requested a reduction in both. During the course of negotiations, the Parish Council’s contractors advised that the height could be reduced to a minimum of 45cm and remain effective. The Landscape Officer requested a further reduction but the Parish Council refused and planning permission was granted on the basis that the bund would be 45cm in height.
  2. The bund could not be continued beyond the end of the cul-de-sac section of Whiteland Way because there was a planning requirement that the terra matted access to the allotments should be where that has now been constructed.
  3. The Parish Council did express concern that it would be possible for travellers to gain access to the field from the forecourt which, except for the allotment parking bay, is owned by Radian. However, our contractors for these protection works, who have considerable experience of looking after and protecting public land, advised that they had not known travellers to have accessed land from a position such as that and so close to houses. 

The works which have been in hand are not actually finished. Owing to the weather, the topsoil layer and grass seeding was deferred. However, notwithstanding that, the experience of the last few days has highlighted the need for additional measures which are now being carried out:

  1. the ditch in front of the bund has been deepened at the top of Whiteland Way, close to the London Road junction.
  2. timber posts (“dragon’s teeth”) are being installed to protect against the field being accessed from the Radian forecourt.
  3.  a 5-bar gate will be installed at the terra matted entrance of the allotment access.

This will provide a continuous line of protection to the field which we hope will prevent a recurrence. However, this cannot be guaranteed as landowners all over the country, including many Councils such as ourselves, are finding, whatever preventative measures are taken.

The Bottom Field

We had the same problem with our planning application. The Parish Council wanted to construct a bund 76cm in height but we had to accept that it would be no more than 45cm.

Work on this protective bund started last week. At the moment, it is only the line of the bund and the ditch that can be seen. The next stage will be to shape it to look the same as the bund on the Top Field and, for this, additional earth will be brought to the site as necessary. Topsoil will then be delivered and spread over the works before grass seed is sown. Collapsible and lockable posts will be installed at the access points which the Parish Council’s ground maintenance contractors will need.

All being well, the bund work on the bottom field will be fully complete by mid-August - well before the Community Involvement Event on 2 September - but, as with the Top Field, the topsoil and grass seeding will be dependent on the weather and ground conditions.

The MUGA and LEAP Area

The signs have gone up to indicate that this is a “no dogs” area except for guide dogs. This restriction applies to all the Parish Council’s children’s play areas. Skateboarding is also not permitted in this area nor will it be permitted in the grounds of the Community and Sports Centre and Tennis Courts (below).

The unwelcome graffiti which, repeatedly, is appearing on this part of the Estate is regrettable. It has been reported to the police and it is being cleaned up by the Parish Council’s contractors but this involves time and expenditure which could be far better employed for the benefit of the community.

The Grounds of the Community and Sports Centre and Tennis Courts

Various site security measures have been implemented in recent weeks. The grounds are now covered by CCTV which is fully operational. Work to prevent unauthorised 4-wheeled vehicular access from several points has been carried out in the last week or two and further work in that respect will be undertaken.

During next week, 5-bar timber gates and some chestnut timber fencing will be constructed on the Endal Way side and, then, it had been planned that the Heras fencing, which has been on loan from the developers, would be taken down and removed. However, following the traveller experience on the top field, the Parish Council has asked the developers if the Heras fencing can remain until closer to the time when the Centre will be open.

Other Matters

Keeping the plants alive during the heatwave has been a challenge - particularly the young hedge plants around the bottom field and in the grounds of the Centre - but there are signs of success. Thanks to the care and attention of the Parish Council’s ground maintenance contractors, quite a number of the plants now seem to be recovering. There will be an audit of the situation in September.

It would be very helpful if everyone could avoid treading on any newly sown areas (including the bunds around the top and bottom fields) until the grass has had time to become established. This will benefit the long term appearance of the estate.

Further updates on these works will be posted on the Parish Council’s website www.clanfieldpc.org.uk

Clanfield Parish Council

9 August 2018

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