Barriers to stop travellers setting up camp outside school in Rugby

Chair of Governors Tom Legge with Rugby MP Mark Pawsey
Chair of Governors Tom Legge with Rugby MP Mark Pawsey

Barriers designed to keep illegal travellers’ encampments off land near a Rugby primary school will be put up later this month.

Following a two-year campaign by Rugby MP Mark Pawsey, defensive barriers will be installed on Central Park Drive to prevent incursions by travellers.

Mr Pawsey has been working with local businesses, the police, councillors, local authorities and the new Rugby Free Primary School to secure funding for the defensive barriers.

He said: “After years of hard work by many people I am delighted that the funding has now been secured to install the permanent defensive barriers on Central Park Drive. The repeated incursions by members of the travelling community has caused great distress to many of my constituents, local businesses, parents of pupils at the free school and indeed the young pupils themselves.”

He added: “I would like to thank the many partners in and around Central Park who have all made significant financial contributions to the scheme. I would also like to pay particular thanks to Tom Legge, of Rugby Free Primary School, who was instrumental in securing funding from the Education Funding Agency. Work is due to begin this month to put an end to this long-standing problem.”

The last travellers’ encampment at the site in November prompted a visit by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball to see the mess left behind. Mr Ball was so appalled by what he saw that he called for tougher powers for local authorities and the police to deal will illegal encampments more effectively.

Speaking on behalf of the school and its trustees, Mr Legge, chairman of governors, said: “One of the reasons for establishing Rugby Free Primary School was to increase the sense of community in an area that needed a school.

“While the number of incursions by travellers has been disappointing, it has had a galvanising effect and the whole school community is delighted that a solution has been agreed to solve this issue permanently. The way in which the businesses on Central Park Drive have rallied round has been a fantastic example of community action, supported all the way by Mark Pawsey, his team and the Education Funding Agency.

“I would like to extend thanks to our teachers, parents and supporters for their understanding and support during this time.”

Tasha Bridgen, who lives near to Central Park, said the recent encampment left behind ‘an awful mess’.

“Leaving human excrement on the path for someone else to clean up is completely unacceptable,” she said.

“I had to use the torch on my phone to help a mum get her toddler and pushchair across the path without stepping in the excrement.

“It’s not right to leave such a mess and expect other people to clear it up.”