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Further security measures to be introduced to deter unauthorised encampments in Chichester

Further measures to deter unauthorised encampments on key public car parks in Chichester will be introduced following a decision by leading councillors.

CDC outside

At a meeting of Chichester District Council's Cabinet on Tuesday 14 May, leading councillors agreed for £66,000 to be released. This will fund vehicle deterrent measures at the Northgate and Cattle Market car parks in Chichester, which are owned and managed by Chichester District Council.

The decision follows similar measures which have been introduced to several open spaces that are managed by the district council. In 2022 vehicle deterrents were installed at New Park and East Broyle, and last year this was extended to include Florence Park; Oaklands Park; Whyke Oval; and, Sherborne Road.

The aim is to introduce three access restriction points at Northgate car park, each covering the entry / exit points, with one installed at Cattle Market car park, to cover the entry / exit point.

"As a council we have been very proactive in wanting to help all members of our community," explains Councillor Harsha Desai, Cabinet Member for Growth and Place at Chichester District Council. "Ten years ago, we supported the Gypsy and Traveller community by working with our partners to create the transit site at Westhampnett. We have also worked to support suitable homes for the Gypsy and Traveller communities through planning policies which are in place.

"We understand residents' and businesses concerns regarding several recent unauthorised encampments. Both the frequency and size of visits has increased over the past few years and so we do need to look at what measures can be put in place to reduce the impact on other car park users and nearby residents.

"Whereas it is much easier to introduce deterrents on green spaces, we will have to consider very carefully about what is appropriate so that authorised users of the car parks can still gain access easily and so that congestion does not build up on surrounding roads.

"In addition, we also need to ensure that the organisers of the annual Sloe Fair can still gain access for their event in the autumn. People may not be aware but as a council we have a duty to provide the land as part of a charter which is in place.

As with previous sites where deterrents have been introduced, we'll be working closely with our partners and local community to find a way forward."

People can find more information about how the council deals with unauthorised encampments including a range of frequently asked questions and an explanation of the process that the council and its partners have to follow when an illegal encampment occurs. There is also advice for landowners and information on how the Gypsy and Travellers Transit site operates.

Date of Release: 14 May 2024

Reference: 4327