Anti-traveller barriers in Cuckfield are a ‘joke’ claims resident

A Cuckfield resident has criticised anti-traveller barriers that have been put up at Whitemans Green.

Yvonne Hickmott, who has lived near the green for nine years, said the barriers were installed by the council – but residents were not informed.

Yvonne Hickmott with her family next to the anti-traveller barriers at Whitemans Green. Photo by Steve Robards

Yvonne Hickmott with her family next to the anti-traveller barriers at Whitemans Green. Photo by Steve Robards

She said: “They just appeared one day. I was very happy to see that they were doing something but when I realised what it was – I thought, what a joke.

“Anyone can just get over the barriers with a spade or a shovel. If it wasn’t such a serious matter – it would be hilarious.”

Yvonne said the barriers were a ‘colossal waste of time and money’, which could have been spent better elsewhere.

“At a time when we have been presented with a record rise in our council tax, that the district council could see fit to spend our money on such a ridiculous white elephant is nothing short of a disgrace,” she added.

Photo by Steve Robards

Photo by Steve Robards

A spokesman for Mid Sussex District Council said: “We have recently reviewed the best methods of keeping our parks and open spaces across the district secure from unlawful encampments.

“A combination of ‘bunding’ and barriers are being provided to protect 29 of the council’s most vulnerable sites.

"It is hoped that by improving the security of these sites, we avoid the negative impact of incursions for residents as well as reducing the police, legal and council resources which are needed to remove illegal incursions.

"Each site was assessed individually. The best approach at Whitemans Green is ‘bunding’ only, as the nearby trees would likely suffer root damage if ditches were dug.

“A high quality of soil was imported to address concerns around imported soil containing invasive plant species. This soil is fine which means it takes time to bind, and it requires water for this process. Since the bunds were formed the weather has been largely dry.

“There was some initial damage caused by visitors trampling over the bunds when the soil was newly laid. In order to protect the newly formed bund from further damage and allow it to establish, temporary fencing has been erected.

“When the bund has bound together and the grass is established following sufficient rainfall, the temporary fence will be removed.”