Residents living by Jackey Bakers playing fields who raised a petition to get better security measures at the site have been told their plea has been successful.
Jackey Bakers has been the target of four incursions in just over two months this year, the latest occurring when around 16 caravans moved on to the site on July 5.
It was the last straw for those whose homes back on to the field with residents saying rubbish and human waste is being left in the wooded area and on the playing fields as well as fences being damaged to gain entry.
Residents raised a petition asking for a barrier/bund or secure fencing for the entire perimeter of Jackey Bakers to head of Traveller incursions and nuisance bikers who are getting on to the green at night. They said they wanted to fundraise on the field with events to help pay for astro-turf, refurbishing the changing rooms and maybe installing cameras but needed the perimeter fencing first.
Now Thanet council has confirmed it will start work on securing the site next month with a new fence, gates, bollards and CCTV..
In an email sent to residents on behalf of Thanet council chief executive Madeline Homer (pictured below), it states: “Kent as a whole has seen an increase in the number of traveller incursions over the last 12 months and this has been reflected in the numbers we have seen in Thanet. It is important to remember that Gypsies and Travellers are protected from discrimination by the Equality Act 2010 which means they can not and should not be persecuted just because of their lifestyle, culture or origin.
“However, that does not mean they can break the law and as such TDC has taken action against a number of incursions, including where appropriate moving them from council land.
“I appreciate there has been some frustration expressed by the public but the council has to follow the proper process in dealing with incursions and this can take time; it does not mean the council is not being effective or not taking the matter seriously.
“We have agreed solutions to make unauthorised access to the land at Jackey Bakers more difficult, which include a new 2 meter fence along the boundary with Sainsbury, bollards to restrict vehicular access to the public right of way, new gates to the entrance of Jackie Bakers and CCTV cameras at the entrance and on the boundary with Sainsbury. We expect work to commence the first week of August.”
Resident Christina Collins said: “I think residents will not believe at first that the council are going to do this until the work starts and the fence is a secure one this time. If it is and CCTV is also put in place then people will be elated.
“We will now need to tackle the motorbike issue and antisocial behaviour in the grounds on occasions but we have already started talking to the police about this and I for one will be going to a meeting in August with them. We want our park to be well kept and maintained and there will still be some work to do in this with the council.
“We won’t be backing down on this as we want to see that these grounds have a future for the community going forward.”
A similar plea for barriers, a ditch or a bund has been made by residents at Dane Valley where the green has also been used by Travellers’ groups numerous times this year.