RECURRENT visits from travelling communities are becoming an ‘increasing problem for Skegness’ and action must be taken, businesses, councillors and residents have demanded.
The latest in a long line of traveller encampments in the town has seen motor-homes and caravans set up on South Parade car park. Businesses in the area have been forced to lock their doors, claiming that travellers have been ‘intimidating’, ‘verbally abusive’ and ‘a nuisance’.
Samantha Senior said: “They are abusive, causing a disturbance and noisy - some of the shop owners are locking their doors to prevent them coming in. In this day and age, when you can be arrested and in court the following day, I can’t see why more can’t be done about it - it’s pathetic.”
East Lindsey District Council ward holder for Seathorne, Coun John Byford, believes the travellers are taking advantage of a loophole in the law and hopes the MP for Boston and Skegness Mark Simmonds may be able call for new legislation to help authorities clamp down on the problem.
He said: “Without wishing to upset the travelling community, there are some serious issues that need addressing.
“They are using a loophole in the law and upsetting many people while costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds in court costs to move them on and to clear up the waste that gets left behind. It’s starting to become a major problem for Skegness and it needs to be nipped in the bud before it gets any worse for residents and visitors alike - when you arrive on holiday you don’t want to be greeted by other people’s mess.”
Currently, the legal proceedings required to move illegally parked travelling communities take time and are often ineffective as the group simply moves to another location in the town, requiring another costly court order to move it again.
Communications team leader at ELDC James Gilbert informed Skegness councillors that legal proceedings had been initiated with regard to the travellers at South Parade but feared it would be unlikely to be resolved before the end of the bank holiday.
“Given the length of time the legal process takes, it may not be possible to get a court order this side of the bank holiday, however we will do our best,” he said.
Lincolnshire Police has also expressed its commitment to protecting the community from disruption, while remaining mindful of the prejudice often directed at travellers.
Inspector Terry Ball said: “We are working with other authorities, licensed premises and close liaison with travellers to ensure the expectations of all parties are met with minimal disruption to our communities.”
The community had moved on from their South Parade encampment by Tuesday morning before legal action was complete.