Travellers need another designated camp in Northampton says councillor after spate of encampments

Councillor Rufia Ashraf is calling for the authorities to consider setting up a second designated traveller camp in Northampton.
Councillor Rufia Ashraf is calling for the authorities to consider setting up a second designated traveller camp in Northampton.

Talks need to be held about setting up another designated traveller site in Northampton, a Labour councillor says, after a recent spate of encampments in the town.

Over the past fortnight, encampents have pitched up at the Sixfields Cineworld car park, Kingsthorpe Park, The Racecourse and at Grange Park.

Travellers in Delapre Park.

Travellers in Delapre Park.

It is understood members of the traveller community were in town for a funeral, but their stay has led to a number of reports of anti-social behaviour.

Back in March 'untold damage' was done to Delapre Park after about 20 caravans parked there and litter was left strewn across the grounds.

But Labour Councillor for St James, Councillor Rufia Ashraf, believes it is time more land was made available to the groups in order to ease tensions between communities.

In a letter to the Chron, she wrote: "We need to have a better approach in how we deal with travellers in the town.

A recent encampment at the Racecourse.

A recent encampment at the Racecourse.

"The present situation doesn’t work for anyone and causes distress for those involved. It causes problems with the concerned local community and consumes much time of the Police, local authority officials and other agencies.

"The aim must be to ensure fair and equal treatment for travellers, in a way that facilitates their traditional way of life while respecting the interests of the settled community.

"The most straightforward solution is to have a designated site for travellers which has proper amenities such as access to health and welfare. This will solution reduce tensions between settled and Traveller communities.

Currently, the town has just one designated traveller site, Ecton Lane in Ecton Brook, which has 35 pitches.

Councillor Ashraf said another suitable site now needs to be found - though she said the location of it would have to be decided through a negotiation period.

"This is a problem that has just been left for too long," she added. every time we have travellers here it costs a lot of money to move them on. We need a long-term solution."

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