Clear-up starts as travellers leave field

Travellers have left the field on Chancery Road. Pictured, the scene when they arrived
Travellers have left the field on Chancery Road. Pictured, the scene when they arrived
Share this article

Empty beer bottles, bits of metal and used toilet paper.

That was the catalogue of mess left by an illegal traveller encampment on field close to Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Council officials started a clear-up operation last Thursday at 10am on the field, which is also used by Astley Village Juniors FC.

It’s estimated that the council spent around £500 to try to get the pitches usable again.

Coun Mark Perks represents the Astley Village area and is also the welfare officer for Astley Village Juniors.

He said: “I visited the field on the morning after the travellers left and it was in a bit of a mess around the skip which Chorley Council had provided,

“There was a lot of metal and rubbish, including cans. The football club was quite lucky though because the nice weather meant that the pitches hasn’t been damaged by the vehicles pulling on.

“I am delighted that they have moved off the site because there was a lot of anxiety in the local community about the problems that travellers can bring.

“The council must be congratulated for clearing everything so quickly and trying to get the travellers off there.

“I think they could have left the field sooner, but due to the Bank Holiday weekend, the council could not get a court order.”

The travellers had moved onto the field on April 28 and the club was forced to call off the U10 teams final game of the season against Penwortham on May 1 and they re-arranged the tie four days later at Penwortham.

Coun Perks admitted that club officials could not take the risk of playing the game at home.

He said: “We have to inspect the pitch to make sure everything has been cleared from a health and safety point of view.

“At least now Derian House can start planning again for their Summer Fayre in June.”

One resident of Clematus Close, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “There was not much disturbance apart some noise of the children at night.

“We were concerned about what could have happened to the field if they had stayed for longer.

“Something has to be done now to make it more secure.

“I have heard that the travellers moved the two tonne boulder and cut chains on a gate so they could move onto the field.”

Jamie Carson, Chorley Council’s Director of People and Places, said: “We have been working extremely quickly to make sure the travellers moved on as fast as possible.

“Now that they have moved on a team of officers have cleaned up and secured the site and we will be improving security there to prevent any further unauthorised encampments.

“Five bags of waste and some LPG cylinders were collected plus we provided them with a skip to encourage them to keep the area tidy.

“In total, just over £500 was spent to move them on and clear up the site.”