Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)
To consider the above petition, bearing 5 signatures, which has been submitted by Councillor Male, a Woodlands Ward Councillor, who has been invited to the meeting for the consideration of this item.
The Cabinet Member considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) which responded to a petition bearing 100 signatures, sponsored by Councillor Male, a Woodlands Ward Councillor, which had been submitted to the City Council on 22nd June, 2018. The petition requested that the Council undertake all necessary measures to ensure that the Ponderosa, otherwise known as Jardine Crescent Sports Ground, off Jardine Crescent, Tile Hill, was made secure in order to prevent further illegal encampments. The petition spokesperson Councillor Male was invited to the meeting and spoke on behalf of petitioners.
This report noted that the site was managed by the Councils Greenspace Service and contained several football pitches and an associated changing rooms. The changing rooms were leased to Mount Nod FC who use the pitches as their home ground.
Approximately 3 years ago the City Council’s Streetpride & Green Space Service created a line of ditches and mounds along areas of the site’s periphery as a defence to prevent unauthorised traveller incursions. The report noted that ditching and mounding was thought to be one of the most effective methods of preventing such incursions.
Despite a vehicle access gate being installed at the same time, some localised flattening of the mounds seemed to have taken place. It was found that a resident football club had been accessing the site with their vehicles over a long period of time by driving over the mounds and ditches. This had in one location flattened the defences and consequently, the travellers had the opportunity to gain unauthorised access onto the site in 2018. Subsequently the mounding was bolstered and no further such incursions had occurred. Following discussions with the football club a key was issued allowing the club to gain access to the site via a locked gate (with height barrier).
The report indicated that officers would continue to maintain and review the existing defences to ensure that as far as can practicably be achieved within the existing resources, unauthorised incursions onto the site would be restricted and or prevented in the future.
Councillor Male discussed the disruption to the local community caused by the incursion on the site. He questioned the cause of the incursion and the quality of the defences. He also discussed anti-social behaviour on the site.
The officer present discussed the cost of defences and had spoken to rangers who weren’t aware that the defences had been damaged. The officer agreed to visit the site and inspect the defences along with the Ward Councillors. If they had been reduced they could be bolstered with in house resources.
Councillor Khan clarified that no illegal encampment had occurred since the defences had been bolstered in 2018 and suggested that officers be contacted as soon as possible if there were concerns about the defences.
RESOLVED that the Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities:
1) Consider the content of the petition and note the concerns of the petitioners’
2) Note that action has been taken to bolster the ditching and mounding around open space and that no further unauthorised incursions have taken place since
3) Agreement has been made with the local football club and keys supplied to allow access by the club to the site via a vehicular gate to prevent further damage to the mounding.
4) Note that the Council’s Street pride Service consider the defences adequate.