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Travellers’ site bill at Horsdean already at £33,000 and could rise
An unfinished site designed for travellers has cost the taxpayer £33,000 so far – and the cost could get even higher.
Travellers moved on to two popular parks the day after children broke up for the school summer holidays and about 25 vehicles set up an unauthorised encampment in Preston Park, Brighton, overnight on Wednesday.
After intervention from Brighton and Hove City Council, the group relocated to Stanmer Park, which is just four miles away.
It comes as The Argus can reveal that the local authority’s transit site at Horsdean is still closed – nearly three months after work began.
A request made under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the local authority had been invoiced £33,000 for the works so far.
After visits from council officials and Sussex police, the group at Preston Park had moved off by the afternoon.
It is thought the vehicles moved to Stanmer Park, off Lewes Road, Brighton.
Linda Barber, of Sutton Close, Woodingdean, said that she spotted about four vehicles in Stanmer Park when she walked her dogs at 7am.
The local authority confirmed more vehicles moved on to the site throughout the day.
A council spokeswoman said its representatives would be visiting the site with Sussex police to assess the situation.
Open space But Mrs Barber said: “It’s ring a roses. They pass through every park and every bit of open space they can get their vans on.
“The group has taken over the whole field. How is that fair to the children who might want to play there in the summer holidays?”
The 23-pitch site at Horsdean, north of the A27 at Patcham, was closed in April for “essential maintenance”.
It also included the installation of a fire hydrant.
The estimated cost of the work, which was supposed to take four weeks, was £25,000.
A council spokeswoman said: “It has taken longer than expected to clear the site and the delay has meant that any expenditure will be accounted for in this financial year.
“Work on site is almost complete and in the process of being inspected and checked ready for reopening.
“The council will continue to employ staff from our corporate security team.”
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