Stanmer Park travellers: A councillor's view

Cllr Summers with Emma Holloway, a volunteer, and one of the horses that have been attacked at Stanmer Horses rescue centre

Cllr Summers with Emma Holloway, a volunteer, and one of the horses that have been attacked at Stanmer Horses rescue centre

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Something is frighteningly wrong when residents and small-business-owners tell me their property is constantly under attack by travellers.

Something is frighteningly wrong when residents and small-business-owners tell me their property is constantly under attack by travellers - and that they fear for their personal safety, but that the police are failing to offer any kind of protection, assurance, or even presence when an incident is faithfully reported.

As ward councillor for Hollingdean and Stanmer, where most incursions are taking place with a seeimngly-relentless frequency and increasing size, my overriding mandated duty is to advocate on behalf of local people irrespective of my own views on travellers, or the views of council officers and police. That is my job.

Since the services that deal with this issue - services that residents have paid for - are not working, I believe it is surely now time to escalate everyone’s grievances.

I sincerely hope that my councillor and MP colleagues across the political spectrum would agree.

There is no one single solution to this. So no party should ever claim to have the silver bullet; nor should any councillor work exclusively to protect their own patch.

This is a citywide problem. As such, I am addressing several possibilities - some of which have previously been proposed - but, for some reason or other, were rejected or shelved.

These include:

designating our parks as "sensitive sites" to enable the council to enable immediate eviction;

proposing a bye-law that will protect our parks;

appealing to neighbouring authorities to work in partnership and share the load;

identifying unused derelict sites as an interim solution;

putting pressure on the Police and Crime Commissioner to intervene and take direct urgent action.

I hope residents will encourage their ward councillors to agree to these and others as part of an urgent cross-party action plan.

To read more by Cllr Christina Summers, visit: www.cllrsummers.com. Email: christina.summers@brighton-hove.gov.uk