I searched in vain in the Herald for extensive coverage of the major news story in Southwick recently – the extraordinary takeover of Southwick Green by travellers.
Where was the telling picture taken by one of your expert photographers of the Green colonised by cars, caravans, horse boxes, and their owners making themselves perfectly at home outside among their tables and chairs, soaking up the autumn sunshine? A sight which greeted stunned Southwick residents for several days, including those living in homes surrounding the Green.
True, your piece in the September 4 edition gave us a sense of the frustration, annoyance and amazement of residents, particularly at the soft policing that allowed this to happen.
Your reporter did his best on a limited brief, but this latest move by the runaround travellers was such a gamechanger – taking over a treasured community green, its focal point in fact, in full view of the locals – that this story really did need to be explored in much greater depth.
I do think the Herald could have done so much more. There was a desperate need for more photographs, for more questions to be asked, more issues discussed and more options considered. For example, the lame suggestion put forward by Adur Council cabinet member David Simmons, for barriers round the Green, which is certainly not the answer. It would be defeatist, spoil a lovely open-access green and inconvenience the locals.
A return to good, robust, old-fashioned, non-PC policing would help, and, most importantly, a change in the law is desperately needed.
Could events at Southwick Green be the catalyst for some positive action to deal with an ongoing problem? I really do hope so. Perhaps the Herald could start a campaign in this direction?
Finally, more local reaction would have been appreciated, including from the travellers themselves. Could they possibly justify their own actions? We might have got some very interesting answers, to say the least.
So, oh dear, what a disappointment, where was the Shoreham Herald when Southwick needed you most?
David Pritchard and Lauren House
• Editor’s note: News of the travellers’ arrival was broken online at www.shorehamherald.co.uk, with updates also going online as the Thursday’s publication date approached. In a week where there were several other strong news stories. as well as in-depth coverage of the hugely-popular Shoreham Airshow, and with the aim of producing balanced coverage of many events and incidents in and around the area, regrettably, it was not possible to devote more space to this issue, one which was clearly of importance to people living nearby. However, the report in the Herald of September 4 was comprehensive and included views from local people, councillors and an explanation from the police regarding their stance.
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