Tue, 19 Mar 2019
TRAVELLERS moved into Newbury's Victoria Park last night.
More than 20 caravans gained unauthorised access to the green from 8.30pm onwards by cutting through the gate locking bar at St Mary's Road.
Town council officers were at the scene as soon as they were made aware of the incident and met with Thames Valley Police (TVP) officers last night.
TVP have served a notice demanding the park is cleared by 2pm today at the latest.
One resident said they saw a number of vans performing ‘donuts’ around the park, damaging the park's football pitch, which was only laid in September.
The resident, who lives near the park, said: “It’s dreadful.
“Yes they’ve got to have some where to stay and they’ll be moved on in a bit, but it’s the additional damage that they’ll do.”
Dave Ingram, community services manager at Newbury Town Council, said: “Thames Valley Police have this morning served notice on the trespassers with the aim of having them vacate the site by 2pm.
“TVP and Newbury Town Council staff will continue to monitor the situation.”
Mr Ingram added that the town council are currently working with its grounds maintenance contractor to assess the damage already caused, particularly to the recently re-laid football pitch and the cost for reinstatement.
Miles Evans, the deputy leader of Newbury Town Council, which is responsible for the management and maintenance of the park, said the situation is being closely monitored.
Damage caused by travellers performing ‘donuts’ on #Newbury’s Victoria Park last night - a good 20 caravans still here. They’ve destroyed the park’s football pitch which was only laid down months ago @NewburyToday pic.twitter.com/zsucu6fZlt— Fiona Tomas (@fionatomas_nwn) March 19, 2019
It is the first time in recent memory that travellers have settled in Victoria Park, following several traveller encampments last year across West Berkshire.
Caravans arrived at Bradley-Moore Square in July last year, while others also pitched up at Dunstan Green, removing wooden posts installed to prevent caravans accessing the site.
Last June, villagers in Theale armed themselves with spades to dig a trench to prevent “intimidating” groups from returning following what they dubbed ineffective and slow action from the council and police.