‘We just want a safe place for our babies’

Travellers on Skegness Industrial Estate.
Travellers on Skegness Industrial Estate.

A young traveller has spoken of the terrifying moment men kicked her car while her children sat inside.

The 25-year-old, who is not named to protect her identity, said: “I pleaded with them to stop - well you would when it’s your babies - but they said they just wanted us to go.”

In August last year, East Lindsey District Council secured a court injunction requiring anyone occupying its Skegness foreshore car parks in caravans or motorhomes unauthorised to leave within four hours. The injunction expired in December.

Travellers have returned to Skegness choosing a quiet car park on the industrial estate. The woman said: “We hope to stay for the summer. We get on with people on the industrial estate and they let us have water.

“Last summer was crazy. We stayed on the industrial estate for about three months then moved to a car park on the seafront. But we had to flee after the men came. We don’t look for trouble - we just want the safest spot for our babies.”

Councillors at a recent Skegness Town Council meeting were calling for talks with a representative of the travellers to try to prevent a repeat of last year’s incidents.

The Skegness Standard found the young woman recovering in her caravan after spending time in Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital following an operation.

She said: “Don’t get me wrong, there are good and bad travellers, we know that.”

Her mother said: “I am visiting from a site in Birmingham where we have showers and toilets - separate ones for men and women - and skips for the rubbish. We are happy to pay for this.”

The daughter said: “We’d pay to have this here. All we have is black bags and so we have to put them in a pile until the council collects them. My husband is a registered groundworker and pays his taxes. We try and stay as best as we can.”

When asked if they had tried living in a house, she said: “I’ve tried twice but it made me sick.

“We can’t cope with walls and the space - we like to be together and close to the outdoors. All we want is a permanent site so my babies can go to school. Before I married, I went to college, worked in a women’s refuge and at a hairdressers on Saturdays.

“My children are only little but can read and do some numbers. I want them to have a proper education too.”

East Lindsey District Council’s search for a permanent site continues.

Anne Shorland, planning policy manager, said: “The district council is currently reviewing its Gypsy/Traveller Assessment, which looks in detail at the requirement for both permanent and transit pitches in terms of number and locations.

“This is due to be completed in the coming weeks and will then be presented to the council’s planning policy committee for consideration.”