BEEFED UP: “Mayhem” prompts fresh look at security
Tudor Grange Leisure Centre, Image: LDRS
Beefed-up security is being looked at for a Solihull venue where travellers are said to have caused “mayhem” during the most recent Bank Holiday.
Tudor Grange Leisure Centre suffered two nights of problems at the end of last month, after around nine caravans pitched up on August 29.
The encampment had “taken over” large sections of the car park and it was alleged at the time that travellers had printed off free tickets in an attempt to sell-them on to visitors.
The incident is the latest of several at the Blossomfield Road site, which often features on the annual lists of council-owned areas targeted by the travellers.
Solihull Council said it was still totting up the costs of the most recent incursion, with the final figure yet to be confirmed.
Although data collected by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) last year found that a previous incident on the same site, in February 2020, had cost £3,675.
While yet another incident, in July 2018, landed the local authority with a slightly smaller bill of £2,000.
Following events at the end of last month several frustrated Solihull residents had suggested extra precautions would be a good idea – citing anger the area had been targeted yet again.
Stephen Massey had described travellers as a “law unto themselves”.
“How can this behaviour still be happening in today’s world,” he said, fearing the council was seen as “a soft touch”.
Although Simon Smith said: “The council don’t create the laws. That’s down to the Government.
“The council acted quickly here but they have to go to court and get the eviction notice which normally has to be complied with in 48 hours.”
Debates about solutions also highlight that increased security isn’t always the answer, since defences at Solihull’s parks have been broken down or pulled up several times in the past.
A council spokesman said: “We are aware that there have been some previous encampments at Tudor Grange Leisure Centre and we are working with the leisure centre management team to review and further improve the barriers and access points.”
Words: David Irwin, Local Demcoracy Reporter
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