Earth bunds are to be installed at four sites in Chichester to prevent travellers from pitching up there.

During a meeting of the district council it was agreed that £141,000 be taken from reserves to pay for bunds at Florence Park, Oaklands Park, Whyke Oval and Sherborne Road.

Mark Chilton, cabinet member for finance, corporate services and Chichester contract services, said priority had been given to parks which either had no protection or had a ‘history of incursions’.

He added: “Cabinet believes that parks are integral to people’s quality of life and should be protected for everyone’s enjoyment.



The Argus: Mark Chilton (Lib Dem, The Witterings)

“Unauthorised incursions can cause community unease, damage to our parks and green spaces, and prevent other legitimate activities such as sport and recreation.”

The meeting was told that clearing up sites after travellers had moved on cost the council between £2,000 and £20,000 per site, depending on the damage caused and the waste left.

Calling the response to the issue ‘proportionate and balanced’, Mr Chilton pointed out that the district council – in partnership with the county council – provided a transit site for travellers in Westhampnett.

The district’s problem with traveller incursions has raised its head every summer over the past ten years, especially between May and September, with between six and 16 caravans pitching up in parks and open spaces as many 12 times.

A successful pilot scheme in early 2022 saw ditches and bunds installed at East Broyle and New Park, with no authorised encampments reported on the sites since.

The aim is to have the new bunds completed by May 2024, though officers warned that a particularly wet winter could see that deadline delayed.

With one door closed to them, what would stop the travellers from simply targeting another site?

It’s a pattern the council has already seen since the East Broyle and New Park bunds were installed.

Unable to move onto these sites, they have taken to parking up in areas such as Northgate car park and Kingsway in Selsey.

A meeting of the cabinet in November was told that it was difficult to add effective deterrents to car parks as they were obviously designed for easy access.

And some barriers at car parks had been broken in the past, allowing travellers to move in.

Mr Chilton said the situation would be ‘monitored’