Park clean up job gets underway

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Efforts to clear and repair a trail of environmental destruction left by members of the travelling community are underway.

A group of travellers - who had been pitched up at Penwortham Holme Recreation Centre from Wednesday last week - vacated the site on Tuesday, leaving behind a trail of discarded rubbish, waste, and abandoned toys and equipment.

Councillor Graham Walton assesses the damage to Penwortham Holme

Councillor Graham Walton assesses the damage to Penwortham Holme

The playing fields’ turf had also been torn up in several places as a result of caravan and car wheels and heavy rain during their stay.

South Ribble Council’s Neighbourhood Services Team started the clear up after the last of the caravans left on Tuesday, bringing along 10 vehicles, including tractors and pickup trucks, to aid with removing the rubbish from the site.

Coun Graham Walton was on the scene as the clear up took place. He said: “The amount of mess and trash that the travellers have left has taken nearly two days to clean up.

“We have done our best to contain this area. There was a low level barrier at the front and the lock was cut off.

South Ribble Council's Neighbourhood Services Team disposing of the abandoned waste

South Ribble Council's Neighbourhood Services Team disposing of the abandoned waste

“No matter what we seem to try to do to help keep this in context with the area we don’t seem to be successful.

“This is council taxpayers’ money. We have to spend it unnecessarily to remove this rubbish.”

Penwortham Holme is used by local football clubs including Penwortham St Theresa’s Juniors, who have already had to cancel two rounds of fixtures because of the damage to the turf.

Coun Walton said: “The ground is entirely unsuitable for children to play football on. This will be taken into account and we will do our very upmost best to get these pitches up and running for the local junior football teams in the area.”

Tractors were needed as part of the clear up

Tractors were needed as part of the clear up

Chairman of St Theresa’s, Dave Tynan, said: “We’re having to rearrange games and it’s becoming a big waste of everyone’s time.”

A collage of the trail of chaos left by the group of travellers

A collage of the trail of chaos left by the group of travellers