The Travellers have been successfully moved on from the Park today at 6.00pm. It has been a good example of effective communication and good decision making based on regular informed interaction between Residents, HHPC, SMBC professionals and the West Midlands Police.
I would particularly like to thank Alan Brown, SMBC Head of Environmental Services and his team at SMBC for working so effectively and quickly on behalf of the Hockley Heath Community and Parish Council.
The decision made this evening by the responsible West Midlands Police commander of resources at the scene was intelligent and judged the situation perfectly. Ably abetted by the SMBC Environmental Services team on the ground with the Police. Well done!
This action helps to restore confidence to Hockley Heath residents and businesses in the effectiveness of West Midlands Policing and their much improved coordination with the SMBC Environmental Services professional team.
HHPC will now be conducting an inspection of buildings and facilities in the Park. However an initial review seems to indicate no serious damage to the grounds, buildings, bowling club and play equipment. However there is considerable waste and litter left on the Park grounds.
This means there is a significant health and safety hazard from bottles, waste and fouling from rubbish left behind on the park and in the surrounding ditches. HHPC has commissioned SMBC Environmental Services to send a crew to clear and dispose of the dangerous mess. In the meantime we have cordoned off the lower park to residents until cleared.
You will be pleased to hear the HH Bowls Club were out in force this evening playing on their pitch once again as the Park returns to normal service. Many thanks to residents who raised the alarm and village organisations that helped communicate information to the village during this distressing episode and also those who helped with the clearing up operations.
The Park main gates on to Old Warwick Road will remain closed whilst HHPC reviews the future security options for the Park. All current Park and Pavilion key holders are now required to open and close the main gates at all times. Once the new security measures are in place we hope normal service can be resumed.
Finally this episode will not disrupt or delay the HHPC upgrading of the children’s play area which commences in September.
Kind Regards, Peter
Peter T. Rayson
Hockley Heath Parish Council
The Hockely Heath Park has been invaded by a significant sized group of Traveller families comprising approximately 10-12 vehicles and caravans. Access to the park was obtained via a padlock having been removed from the park grass area entrance: only used by emergency services or Park maintenance contractors.
The police have been in attendance, in force, to contain the situation. The police can take no action at this time as trespass is a civil not a criminal activity. The civil action response has to be a court order which can only be obtained on Monday morning
. HHPC are working directly with SMBC to ensure this is done along with getting the bailiffs in to move the Travellers on ASAP.
In discussion with the Police Inspector the advised course of action for HHPC is to allow this group on to the Park and localise them for the police to keep watch and monitor their activities rather than barricade the Park and scatter them all over the village. Whilst this is a major issue for HHPC and the residents surrounding the Park it is deemed the safest approach for all concerned.
The Police can only act if there is criminal actions taking place, for example: damage to property, abusive behaviour, theft and any other criminal activity. If any villager sees or is impacted by anything of this sort involving these Travellers then they must report it to the police immediately. These reports will all be logged and will be hugely important on Monday morning
when the court injunction is served because criminal activity can be and will be acted upon.
In the mean time HHPC and SMBC advice is to ensure all your property and belongings are secure. Also do not take matters into your own hands as this can easily escalate and cause more harm and damage for both the village and the Travellers who have young children amongst them.
On advice from the Police, the Park main gates will not be locked tonight or Sunday night
as they are usually at dusk. HHPC has been assured by the Police that they will be monitoring on every hour for the duration of the incursion all Park facilities, to ensure they are not broken into or vandalised.
If any Villager sees any threatening behaviour or fighting they are to call 999 immediately and the Police are alerted to respond at once.
Whilst this is completely unacceptable behaviour by the Travellers; we will be working closely with SMBC and the West Midlands Police to try and find a safe and swift conclusion to this incursion.
Hockley Heath Parish Council