Travellers have been pitching up at parks and open spaces in Brighton and Hove but have not directed to the dedicated camp site, according to a councillor.
Conservative councillor Dawn Barnett has written to the co-chair of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Housing Committee to find out why.
She wrote to Green councillor David Gibson after a group of caravans and vans moved on to St Helen’s Park, known as the Green, in Hangleton, rather than the Horsdean traveller site in Patcham.
The site opened in 2016 and has 12 permanent caravan pitches and 21 transit pitches where travellers can stay for up to three months.
Councillor Barnett, who represents Hangleton and Knoll ward, said in her letter, that the £2.3 million cost of the site in the South Downs National Park had been a “great expense”.
She asks for details of the council’s housing policies for travellers and for numbers of illicit camps to see whether they had changed much since the Horsdean site opened.
Her letter also asked how many travellers used the site, in St Michael’s Way, which has access to water, electricity and a shower block.
Councillor Barnett said that she received many emails and phone calls when travellers moved into St Helen’s Park on Friday 9 September.
She went to the park the same day and said that the group was not interested in going to Horsdean because they would have to pay for the pitches.
Councillor Barnett said: “The reason that site was built at great expense was if they (travellers) park where they shouldn’t be, they would be escorted to that site or they should leave the city.
“Why are they (the council) not sticking to what was said? It’s not acceptable.
“Residents do not want the travellers taking up the parks in the summer. Our own people can’t use the parks.
“I went down there and said to the travellers, ‘I want you to go on the site.’ And they said, ‘We don’t want to go on the site. We’re quite happy here, thank you very much.’”
The group moved off the park on Monday 12 September.
The letter is due to go before the Housing Committee at a meeting at Hove Town Hall next Wednesday (28 September). The meeting is scheduled to start at 4pm and to be webcast on the council’s website.
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