Calls for council to protect Bexhill Down from travellers


The council says it will be ‘reviewing security’ on Bexhill Down after a group of travellers pitched up on the land last week.

Eyewitnesses reported that around eight caravans pitched up on the land, just off West Down Road, last Wednesday (May 10).

The group left the site two days later, but an angry resident has accused Rother District Council of ‘letting down the community’ by not doing more to prevent unauthorised encampments on The Downs.

Carole Tennant said: “So while Rother can find the money to dig up the seafront gardens and replace them with, well, gardens, and they can dig up the roundabout and replace it with, well, a roundabout and they can take up the Edwardian shelters on the sea front and replace them with, well, you guessed it, shelters, they can’t find the money to protect the Down from the intrusion of the travellers and the destruction they cause to the Down.

“Rother are failing the community yet again!”

A Rother spokesman said: “Since being alerted to the arrival of vehicles on Bexhill Down on Wednesday evening, we worked successfully with Sussex Police and the traveller liaison officer at East Sussex County Council to evict them and they left on Friday.

“We then arranged for the area to be cleared of waste left behind and secured the site.

“Although we appreciate the concerns of residents, Bexhill Down is common land and we would not want to restrict access to the area or create visually intrusive barriers.

“We have over the years taken action to secure the site but on this occasion the barriers were pulled out of the ground in order to gain unauthorised access.

“We will however be reviewing the security of the Downs.

“The county council does provide a modern transit site for gypsies and travellers at Lewes, and Rother District Council contributes towards the maintenance costs of this site. This allows the police to direct gypsies and travellers who are on unauthorised encampments to that site.”