Gypsy Travellers Vandalise Park Hall Beauty Spot (PICS)
Park Hall is one of the city's areas of outstanding natural beauty. The rolling hills to one side of Park Hall Road, the lake and open green space to the other side.
The residents of the area, old and young, respect it totally.
Park Hall hills draw visitors from far and wide. The area offers moments of tranquillity and an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Dog walkers enjoy the hills, the lake and green space alike and always clean up the mess their canine friends produce.
Cheap Motor Insurance for Over 70's with Free Legal Expenses...View details
Cheap Motor Insurance for Over 70's with Free Legal Expenses Cover - Call 01782 898188
Free Legal Expenses Cover Included Valued at £25.00
Terms: 1 Voucher Per Customer
Contact: 01782 898188
Valid until: Friday, June 21 2013
To me Park Hall is the jewel in the south of the city's crown.
However in the past week the area came under attack [I consciously use the word attack] from a group of gypsy travellers who absolutely vandalised the area.
About 30 vans arrived on Saturday 2nd July. They bumped their caravans over a curb and decided to set up camp on the green space next to Park Hall lake.
As is customary the travellers showed no respect to the area, the land, or the residents.
They left exactly one week later leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
Rubbish was strewn all over the green space. Garden rubble, tarmac, clothing general household waste, used nappies was discarded without a care.
I visited the area on Sunday 10th and took the pictures below on my phone. The damage the caravans had done to the land will take time to repair.
The poor council workers who will undoubtedly be left to clean up after these vandals will also have to deal with an amount of human excrement left as a present by these gypsy travellers.
So, they were there for a week, how come it took so long to get rid of them? Who is to blame? How much will the cleanup operation cost?
The ward councillor Matt Fry was onto the problem almost immediately. In turn Rob Flello, MP for Stoke-on-Trent South was alerted, who in turn put pressure on the council officers and the police.
The hold up, and it happens in every case where gypsy travellers invade an area, is solely down to the time it takes to get the necessary paperwork to and through the courts. The courts give the police permission to evict the travellers on a certain date usually within two weeks of the arrival of the caravans.
Matt Fry, Rob Flello, the police and in particular the officers of the council, cannot be faulted in this case. They worked as a team for the good of the residents and the community to rid the area of this blight on the landscape.
Rob Flello was in constant communication with the police on the matter and as a result of an appeal by the senior officer in charge to the leader of the travellers, the area was eventually evacuated on Saturday 9th.
Cllr Matt Fry along with Rob Flello MP are now in discussions with the relevant officers of the council to ensure there is a thorough cleanup operation and measures taken to prevent any return including a fence or bollards.
I don't want to turn this into a race issue, to me this is about respect, or to be more accurate, the lack thereof.
People say that gypsies get a rough deal, I just don't buy that.
Anyone who watched the recent TV series 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' would have observed that there is arrogance within the travelling community.
They demand respect but the travellers rarely show respect for people or the land they so often mistreat and vandalise.
The programme showed that the caravans in which they live are kept spotlessly clean. The permanent gypsy sites sited around the country are also well kept and the land tended.
But their good housekeeping is limited to their own vans and sites. They do not care a jot about taxpaying communities who are trying their best for the areas in which we live.
They are classed as an ethnic minority and I have no issue with that whatsoever.
What I do care about is that our City Council are left to foot the bill for cleaning up the mess that these people leave behind them.
I was told over the weekend that the cleanup will cost the city council in the region of £5000 plus the cost of ensuring that gypsy travellers cannot access the land in the future.
In an era when we are losing facilities, services and leisure amenities through cuts it is an outrage that these people are allowed to carry on inflicting mess and disruption to areas of our city.
The penalties for the vandalism that gypsy travellers inflict on our communities and areas of natural beauty need to be a whole lot tougher. If they were locked up until they were forced to pay for the cleanup following one of their uninvited stays, they may think twice about how they treat the land in the future.
As my old dad used to say 'respect is earned not demanded'.