Travellers moved on from Chichester sports field ahead of open air concert

A group of travellers have been moved on from a sports field in Chichester, the district council has said.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 1:58 pm
Updated Friday, 4th June 2021, 12:33 pm

The group arrived in Oaklands Park, in Broyle Road towards the rugby club, on Tuesday evening— just as Chichester Festival Theatre has been setting up its three-day Concerts in the Park event which begins this evening (Thursday, June 3). Read more here

Chichester Rugby Club secretary Jeremy Martell said: "It's very frustrating. There doesn't seem to be any regard for the fact that it is a sports facility.

"When they turned up on Tuesday evening, the under 8s were training and we had the RFU (Rugby Football Union) training the coaches on the pitches. There was no regard for safety.

There were 12 caravans parked at the site on Thursday morning, according to West Sussex County Council
There were 12 caravans parked at the site on Thursday morning, according to West Sussex County Council

"They drove straight through the pitch where young children were training. That was alarming to me."

As many as 12 caravans remained at the site this morning, according to West Sussex County Council.

In a statement this afternoon, a spokesperson added: "All have been served with a notice requiring them to vacate the land. Should they fail to do so, court proceedings will commence.

"We will continue to monitor the site together with Sussex Police.”

Chichester District Council confirmed that the travellers were no longer at the site this afternoon.

"We understand that the travellers have moved from Oaklands Park to New Park Road recreation ground," a spokesperson said.

"West Sussex County Council are due to serve notice this afternoon. Our team has been on site at Oaklands Park to ensure it is cleaned and tidy."

Mr Martell said he had spoken to the travellers personally and 'asked if there was any chance they could move on' from Oaklands Park.

He added: "They choose to be travellers and we accept that but we hope they will be off the pitch and the event can go ahead.

"We are very wary of it. We don't want confrontations.

"This is the third or fourth time this year they have been on or around the area. They normally park down by the theatre.

"There doesn't seem to be action to accommodate them elsewhere or to protect the park.

"I hope the councils take the necessary steps."