Furious traders plan giant barrier to protect Canvey park from travellers

We’ve had enough – traders and councillors are angry the barrier to Labworth car park was open

We’ve had enough – traders and councillors are angry the barrier to Labworth car park was open

First published in South Essex
Last updated

TRADERS want to put a ring of steel around a Canvey park to stop travellers moving on to the land.

Up to 17 caravans had to be cleared off Labworth Park by the police on Sunday after causing a weekend of disruption.

Now traders want to install two steel barriers measuring over 6ft high, as well as 123 steel bollards, to keep travellers out.

Yesterday, the park was cleared of rubbish left behind by the travellers, who went on to cause havoc in Southend.

Scott Petty, manager at Leisure Island Fun Park, said: “The traders on the seafront are willing to pay to install barriers around the park.

“I lost three days of trade. We were open, but no one tuned up because of it. It was the last weekend of the summer holidays and we could have made thousands.

“We can’t sleep at night – this is our livelihood.”

Mr Petty plans to install the bollards himself, but says he will not start work until he has Castle Point Council’s permission.

He said: “Obviously we need permission and we want to work with the council. I’ve spoken to the traders on the seafront and we all want to work together.”

Simon Matthews, manager at the Oyster Bay wine bar and Oysterfleet Hotel, said: “The decision was taken to shut down the bar on Saturday night for public safety.

“It’s been a living nightmare for the past 72 hours and my staff are on edge.

“We want to do anything we can to prevent the situation from ever happening again.”

Dave Blackwell, leader of Canvey Island Independent Party, said: “It was horrendous. We had a complete crew of people down there to clear the rubbish.

“I honestly don’t believe anyone should have to put up with that sort of thing.

“There has to be a change in the law that stops them coming into communities and causing total devastation.

“There are rumours they are coming back, but we have done what we can and the gates are locked.

“At the end of the day the people of Canvey have suffered weeks of flooding and now this.”

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