Sussex traveller transit site impact concerns villagers

A petition against the Westhampnett site was unsuccessful.
A petition against the Westhampnett site was unsuccessful.

VILLAGERS who objected to the traveller transit site on the outskirts of Westhampnett remain concerned about the newly-opened facility..

Westhampnett Parish Council criticised what it said was a lack of consultation over the introduction of the £1.25million facility, with chairman Bill Harding arguing it was of ‘no benefit’ to either travellers or those affected by it.

A petition against the site, signed by a reported 98 per cent of the village, was unsuccessful.

Since then, Mr Harding said he had received reports of several issues, including antisocial behaviour.

“It’s not been the most successful. Obviously things have to bed in but most of the worries we had have come to be,” he said.

“We are not happy with it at all.

“We have always said there must be better places for it to be than on the main road into a village. We think it’s a ridiculous place to put it. It cost £1.3 million and what for, apart from being able to move travellers on from illegal sites? I think it’s scandalous.”

Despite the concerns, Mr Harding conceded the concept was ‘very valid’ but was located in the wrong place.

Councillors in Adur, meanwhile, realised the transit site was not an immediate cure-all last month.

A lack of defences around Southwick Green saw it occupied by travellers twice in two weeks, leading to Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin to launch a consultation over installing posts around the green to fortify it.

But Mr Parkin said the consultation had since been put on hold, with the transit site resulting in an overall reduction in the amount of time travellers were moved on in.

He said: “The transit site has made an immediate, measurable difference to the amount of time, effort and money needed to keep our communities’ open spaces available for the benefit of Adur residents.

“We all remember last year’s unauthorised incursion on Southwick Green – the new powers will stop that from happening again.

”Following this and the limited effectiveness of some types of anti-traveller measures, we are putting decisions about the best physical protection for Southwick Green on hold until the end of the summer.”