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Irish travellers will be served with court order after failing to leave Woodlands park camp in Gravesend

A group of Irish travellers will be served with a court order this morning to leave Woodlands Park.

Medway Magistrates Court issued the order today following a summons on Tuesday.

If the travellers fail to comply with the court order within the next 24 hours they can be removed and the council has arranged bailiffs to stand by to evict them.

Travellers in Woodlands Park, Gravesend
Travellers in Woodlands Park, Gravesend

The group pitched up with a caravan, vans and tents on Friday evening and told the council there was a medical situation involving a pregnant woman and they would be gone by Monday.

The summons was served on them on Tuesday afternoon by a council officer.

The group remains in the middle of the green with sofas, racquet games and washing hanging out.

They do not have animals on the site and for the most part the travellers had not interacted with the public. Most park visitors said their presence, while aggravating, did not directly affect them.

One resident of Dashwood Road whose home overlooks the park, but who did not wish to be named, said: “My main concerns are about hygiene and security.

“I walk past the park every morning for work at 6am, and there’s people already in there. The gates are shut at dusk, but not always locked overnight. That needs to be addressed.

“Especially now the council has just invested in a fantastic new playground, security needs to be tightened. The park has been really busy because of that this summer, but people have definitely been put off coming this weekend because of the travellers.”

Travellers in Woodlands Park, Gravesend
Travellers in Woodlands Park, Gravesend

A father himself, he added: “There aren’t any usable toilets on site now either, and the rubbish is already piling up around the bins, so what they leave behind when they do go is a worry, especially in an area with a lot of children running around.”

One mum, who arrived at the park with her children on Monday, said: “I suppose they’ve got to go somewhere and they’re not causing any trouble at the moment.

“I live in the area, but I wouldn’t be happy if they turned up right outside my house, I’d want them out.”

Chief executive of the council, David Hughes, added: “We understand the frustration of park users and residents but the council is obliged to act lawfully.

"Officers have acted as quickly as is possible and the action through the magistrates court has been expedited.”

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