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Gates policy under attack

Posted on September 29 2017 at 3:43:15

Gates

Residents have called for a village park’s gates to be unlocked after a whole summer and early autumn of restricted access.

A thick chain has held the gates to The Meadows, Alvechurch, closed after the parish council received warnings of traveller incursions in the area. They remained locked (right) as The Village went to press.

Villagers attended the council’s September meeting to complain they had been unable to use The Meadows because they can’t get on to the car park.

Alan Robinson said: “In the summer when grandparents want to take their grandkids down to The Meadows, it is a heck of a long walk, especially if you’re carrying a picnic.

“The entire summer has gone by without vehicle access,” he complained. “The Meadows has been totally unused.”

He believed the parish council, which manages the park, had nothing to fear, telling councillors: “I know you have a perceived idea of a threat, but should any travellers get down there they have got nowhere to go.

“Travellers have to work and need to get in and out, but on the Meadows they can be blocked in in seconds.”

Another resident, Megan Brain, said: “I would like to know if there has been a risk assessment for the closure of the gates and whether the emergency services are aware of who to contact to get in.“

Coun Adrian Smith said that was a good point, adding: “We should somehow make the emergency services aware of the codes.” But he added: “We have had incursions before and it has cost council tax payers many thousands of pounds.

“We think it is expedient to close the gates when there is a high risk. The only thing that makes us close the gates are reports from the police or from county and district councils telling us there is a high risk of traveller incursions.

“I think there would be an awful kerfuffle if there were travellers down there.”

Parish chairman Andy Humphries added: “We have a put a large investment into The Meadows and should protect it. It has been a very bad year for travellers in south Birmingham.”

District councillor Kate Van Der Plank said: “I go to The Meadows every day to walk my dogs and I can tell you it is very well used. Meadow Lane isn’t suitable for traffic and I actually think one of the advantages of having the gate closed over the summer holidays is that it makes it safer for children.”

Meanwhile, the council is to decide at its next meeting on a replacement bollard for the vehicle track into The Meadows.

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