Work is underway to protect six open spaces and parks in Poole against unauthorised encampments.
Measures to improve security at Verity Park in Canford Heath, Branksome, Broadstone and Whitecliff Recreation Grounds are scheduled to start before the end of this week. Plans for open space at Baiter are being finalised and will start as soon as possible.
Gates and entrances at all of the open spaces have already been ‘security enhanced’ and further improvements will start later this year, subject to consultation.
The proposed improvements include the creation of soil embankments at Verity Park, Branksome and Broadstone recreation grounds. Soil embankments are considered an effective method of preventing unauthorised vehicles on open spaces while still leaving them accessible for pedestrians.
A number of stone boulders, each weighing 1.5 tonnes, will be placed along the Turks Lane boundary of Whitecliff Recreation Ground. Installation of a new four metre security enhanced gate at Whitecliff is also planned.
A decision to enhance the security at the six priority sites was made by Cabinet members in April. The sites have all experienced unauthorised encampments in previous years.
Councillor Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for the Environment, Borough of Poole, said: “We have been working closely with ward councillors and residents groups to identify the best way to improve protection for these sites. This has now been agreed and we are carrying out these works as quickly and as economically as possible.
“It has to be said that these works will not make a site completely secure. All our parks and open spaces still require access to be available for emergency services, maintenance vehicles and people with disabilities. However, these improvements will make it harder for unauthorised vehicles to access these sites.
“The new embankments will require tonnes of soil-based screenings and we would like to thank local supplier, MB Wilkes, for their support and generous offer to donate a large quantity of the materials and to provide additional supplies to complete the work at a reduced rate.”