The ArgusTravellers park on emergency air ambulance site (From The Argus)

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Travellers park on emergency air ambulance site in East Brighton Park

The Argus: Travellers park on emergency air ambulance site Travellers park on emergency air ambulance site

This was the scene yesterday as a group of travellers parked on the landing site used by the air ambulance service.

Residents and travellers watched as two helicopters landed on the football pitch at East Brighton Park.

Police held back a convoy of vehicles and caravans trying to get on to the site from Roedean Road, causing traffic chaos as they waited for the helicopters to leave.

The travellers arrived yesterday morning and set up camp on the pitches which are used by the Kent, Sussex and Surrey Air Ambulance to ferry patients to and from the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

 


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One of the helicopters that landed amidst the upheaval yesterday was carrying a 69-year-old woman who had fallen from a horse in Rocks Lane, High Hurstwood.

Just hours after the travellers moved onto the site, police officers asked them to go.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Police were informed of travellers at East Brighton Park off Wilson Avenue, Brighton on Wednesday at around midday.

“Two helicopters needed to land at the park for medical emergencies and the travellers moved immediately to allow them to land.

“They have now been served with a notice under Section 61 of the Public Order Act requiring the travellers to leave. They are now in the process of leaving.”

The travellers however, said they had nowhere else to go.

John Doherty, one of the travellers, said: “We would be happy to go to the transit site at Horsdean and pay the fee but we are currently not allowed on to it due to drainage problems.

“We have been on the road and we need fuel and food. We just need to stay a few days.”

A council spokesman said: “There is reduced capacity at the Horsdean transit site because of drainage issues.

Total capacity is down from 17 units to ten.

“Of these six are currently occupied. We have offered the other four to members of the group at East Brighton Park but they have declined them as there is not enough availability to accommodate the whole group and they wish to stick together.

“Under these circumstances we have no powers to force them to accept our offer.”

Resident Lucy Shuttleworth said: “They are people and they get hounded everywhere, they need to have somewhere to go.”

Witnesses said the first group of travellers made their way on to the site while the gate was open for a tractor that was mowing the pitch.

A second group of travellers then arrived but were held by police while an air ambulance took off.

It is not known if these are the same travellers who left Stanmer Park before an eviction could take place yesterday.

A planning application was approved in February for a permanent site of 12 pitches at Horsdean.

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