ADUR councillors met with Sussex Police last week to learn how the opening of a new gypsy and travellers’ encampment near Chichester will affect towns and villages in the Adur district.
The £1.25million site in Westhampnett, north-east of Chichester, has been a year-long project and serves the whole of West Sussex.
The police will have greater powers to deal with illegal encampments when they occurSpokesperson for West Sussex County Council
Following its official opening last Monday, March 16, Adur and Worthing councillors were invited by West Sussex County Council to attend one of two meetings on Thursday and Friday at the Civic Centre, in Ham Road, Shoreham.
A spokesperson for the council said: “At the meeting the police gave a general update on the powers they have and the county council gave an update on the new transit site.”
District councillor for Sompting Carson Albury attended the Thursday meeting and said: “Last year we, in Adur, were inundated with travellers breaking into and encamping on our playgrounds and parks.
“They often did damage getting into these areas and left behind rubbish of all kinds. Adur council tax payers had to pay to have the damage repaired and to have the rubbish removed.
“Some travellers were moved on very quickly but others were allowed to stay, sometimes for up to two weeks and the reasons for this are sometimes difficult to understand.”
At the two meetings, councillors were told by police that with the launch of the new encampment, officers will have ‘greater powers’.
The council spokesperson added: “There are no new powers in relation to gypsies and travellers, however as a result of the new site in Chichester, the police will have greater powers to deal with illegal encampments when they occur and we will no longer be simply moving an encampment from one area to another.”
Mr Albury added it is imperative councillors are able to explain to residents how the new rules work.
Travellers were removed from Albion Street Lorry/Coach Park in Southwick by police last September.