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Travellers ordered to leave park and ride site

PUBLISHED: 16:48 05 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:05 06 June 2018

The travellers who were at Harford Bridge Park and Ride. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The travellers who were at Harford Bridge Park and Ride. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Security will be bolstered at a busy park and ride after travellers have been ordered to move off the site.

Travellers at Harford Bridge Park and Ride.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYTravellers at Harford Bridge Park and Ride. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The group arrived on Norfolk County Council-owned Harford Park and Ride, which is not a legal travellers site, on the outskirts of Norwich around May 25.

Travellers at Harford Bridge Park and Ride.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYTravellers at Harford Bridge Park and Ride. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

A criminal summons for the travellers was brought about by the authority after they failed to leave by May 29.

The order to remove them was enforced at Norwich Magistrates’ Court today.

The group, along with their vehicles, have to leave by the end of tomorrow under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Jeremy Cooper, managing director of Konect Bus which manages Harford Park and Ride, said: “There are security barriers but they have not proved sufficient enough in deterring this encampment. We are working with the council to come up with some improvements.”

Konect Bus also manages park and ride sites at Postwick, Costessey and Thickthorn.

Mr Cooper added it was “regrettable” that the Costessey, Thickthorn and Harford sites had been used by travellers in the past.

He was “grateful” for the help of Norfolk Police and the county council who have helped move travellers off their sites quickly.

The Harford Park and Ride has been able to run while the travellers have been on the site.

But Mr Cooper added some customers had raised concerns.

Garry Wheatley, South Norfolk Council member who represents the Harford Park and Ride area, said: “It is not appropriate to move onto the park and ride site. There are quite a lot of facilities available to travellers.”

These include a private site close to Harford Park and Ride and South Norfolk Council-owned Roundwell site in Costessey.

A South Norfolk Council-owned transit site, in Bawburgh, where travellers can stay temporarily, is closed after fly-tipping problems. It will reopen.

Labour county councillor Brenda Jones understood people’s anxieties about travellers.

But she added: “Where do travellers move to?”

Speaking during today’s court hearing, the county council’s solicitor Sarah Flaxman said the travellers made an “unauthorised encampment” on Harford Park and Ride.

None of the travellers attended the hearing and no defence was heard.

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