Plans for bollards after travellers damage playground at Rugby free school

Travellers damaged equipment at Rugby Free Primary School's new playground
Travellers damaged equipment at Rugby Free Primary School's new playground

Bollards and barriers may be installed after travellers wrecked a play area at the town’s new free primary school.

Rugby’s MP Mark Pawsey has been pushing for the installation after more than 60 travellers set down just outside Rugby Free Primary School’s entrance in Bailey Road, Central Park.

The school, which opened in September, has had to hire 24-hour security services after travellers set up camp nearby, twice in six weeks, and badly damaged play equipment. The school’s chair of governors, Tom Legge, said the Education Funding Agency had agreed to cover all costs.

Mr Pawsey recently raised the issue of travellers camps at Central Park in Parliament, which has been a problem for nearby businesses for several years.

He said: “Perhaps some consideration can be given to additional powers for local authorities where unauthorised encampments are set up near sensitive areas, such as schools and also to how we fund defensive measures such as bollards to prevent such encampments.”

The travellers have now been moved on. Mr Pawsey said: “I welcome the fact that they have now been moved on, though this process took a number of days and caused a great deal of disruption for the families and young pupils at the school.

“This has been an ongoing issue for a number of years and I have been working hard with local businesses and councillors to find a permanent solution to this ever increasing problem. However, the recent opening of Rugby Free Primary School on Central Park Drive has made the need for urgent action to prevent these incursions even more pressing.”

Mr Pawsey hopes to receive confirmation of the installation of the bollards and metal barriers next week. The defensive measures would be installed on county council land, the work would be carried out by the borough council, and the bollards may be funded by businesses in the area.