Published: 11:22, 04 November 2019
| Updated: 09:37, 05 November 2019
Travellers are behind the sudden closure of one of Kent's most popular activity centres, KentOnline can reveal.
Betteshanger Park in Deal announced yesterday evening that it would be temporarily closed until further notice.
Managers this morning have confirmed that it is due to an incursion of travellers and they are pursuing the correct legal channels for their removal.
Tamasin Jarrett, Head of Development for Betteshanger Sustainable Parks, said: "We had to close temporarily due to an encampment of travellers arriving onto the park late Sunday afternoon.This closure is necessary whilst the correct legal channels are pursued to ensure they leave promptly. It is expected that the Park will re-open later this week.
"We regret the inconvenience that this has caused and will be contacting all individual clubs and customers, which have booked sessions and parties, to keep them updated on the situation."
The news was greeted with shock by many visitors last night who wondered whether the closure could be linked to the site's financial criss.
Betteshanger Park is owned by the Hadlow Group, which came under scrutiny in February when it suspended its chief executive Paul Hannan and deputy chief executive Mark Lumsdon-Taylor resigned amidst an investigation into its finances.
The Group has since announced its intention to dispose of the 422 acre site and the sale believed to be ongoing.
In a message on its Facebook page, the park simply said: "Due to unforseen circumstances we regret that the park will be temporarily closed until further notice. We ask for your your patience during this time. Further information will be provided in due course."
Linda Milton commented: "This is very sad news...... had a great time geocaching on Friday and hope it’s not our last visit."
Katie Woolridge added: "This is so sad. My boys have just started to love it here... they both love the playpark and my eldest loves riding his bike there. What a great shame."
Betteshanger is the venue for many outdoor activities including cycling, walking and running. It also has a children's play area and a military style assault course run by MY/PT.