Travellers’ visit sparks review of site security

Travellers at Five Acre Field Langney Point
Travellers at Five Acre Field Langney Point

TRAVELLERS took up residence on Five Acre Field this week but were moved on by the authorities.

Caravans started arriving on the field, off Lottbridge Drove and opposite the Sovereign Centre, at the middle of last week but were quickly moved on by the police. However, the travellers returned on Friday (June 3) at around 5.30pm.

The Herald understands the travellers broke a padlock on one of the gates and removed the wooden posts in order to gain access. Langney Point residents alerted the police and the council and both authorities worked to move the travellers on.

Residents had complained about open bonfires, the chopping down of trees, generators running late into the night, dogs barking all night and anti-social behaviour.

New Sovereign Ward councillors, Patrick Warner, Gordon Jenkins and Philip Ede, have congratulated Sussex Police for their prompt action last Wednesday evening and for serving the travellers with the required notice to quit the site on Tuesday morning (June 7).

The councillors also thanked the residents for alerting the authorities promptly.

Cllr Jenkins said “I will be calling for a much clearer policy from the council to speed up action if travellers attempt this in the future.”

Cllr Warner added, “We will also be ensuring that lessons are learned and that security is improved to prevent further encampments in the future.”

And Cllr Ede said, “We will also be calling on central Government to strengthen powers to ensure that our local police and councils are given the tools to take immediate action in future.”

An Eastbourne Borough Council spokesperson said, “A group of travellers which occupied the Five Acre Field site in Eastbourne on Friday evening (June 3) left the site at around 8pm on Tuesday (June 7).

“Eastbourne Borough Council successfully worked in partnership with Sussex Police and East Sussex County Council to ensure this unauthorised occupation was resolved as quickly as possible.

“Throughout this process it was important to ensure the correct legal procedures were followed at all times to allow the occupants of Five Acre Field to be moved to a purpose built designated gypsy and traveller transit site in the county, which has now taken place.

“The welfare of the traveller group was fully assessed before any decision was made about the best course of action.

“The council will look into how the site can be secured to prevent further unauthorised occupations.”

A Sussex Police spokesperson said, “Sussex Police were aware of their arrival on Friday and the concerns of the local community. They were closely monitored throughout the weekend by the local officers.”