Mound will block trav­eller camps

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

A hotspot for il­le­gal trav­eller in­cur­sions is go­ing to be blocked off to stop car­a­vans mov­ing on.

Cum­ber­land Av­enue in Shep­way has been blighted three times this year, with a burnt out car­a­van, hu­man waste and reams of rub­bish left be­hind.

Next month Maid­stone coun­cil will cre­ate a mound of earth sur­round­ing the green on Cum­ber­land Av­enue.

Coun­cil­lor for Shep­way North ward Mar­ion Ring said: “We don’t want to be un­wel­com­ing but it’s a lovely bit of grass and it is for the com­mu­nity.

“It might be a bit of an eye­sore at first but I’m giv­ing up some of the bud­get to pay for trees and plants, by the sum­mer we’ll have nice pop­pies other plants.

“We don’t want the mess left be­hind, like ev­ery­thing it is a cost to the coun­cil.”

In the past two years car­a­vans have pitched up ei­ther on Shep­way green or the neigh­bour­ing Shep­way Com­mu­nity Cen­tre’s car park six times.

Un­like coun­cils in neigh­bour­ing Ton- bridge and Malling and Tun­bridge Wells, Maid­stone Bor­ough Coun­cil does not record the cost of clear­ing up in­di­vid­ual en­camp­ments. In­stead the cost is cov­ered un­der its £1.6mil­lion street cleans­ing bud­get, how­ever it is con­sid­er­ing record­ing the cost of each clean up in fu­ture.

Work­ers will also in­stall a bar­rier next month. The work to cre­ate the mound and bar­rier is due to start on De­cem­ber 10 and last un­til Jan­uary.

A sim­i­lar mound has been in­stalled at the foot of Blue Bell Hill, af­ter trav­ellers pitched up on a field next to Old Chatham Road at the start of the month.

Since then the landowner has dug their own mound to pre­vent ve­hi­cles from get­ting onto the site.

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