TRAVELLERS in Sudbury should have to pay for parking spaces, according to a district councillor, writes Elliot Pinkham.
The group, which includes five caravans, arrived at Kingfisher Leisure Centre car park on Christmas Eve, having previously set up sites in Rodbridge Park in Long Melford, at B&Q in Sudbury and in Newton Green earlier in the year.
John Sayers, a county, district and town councillor, believes the travellers should be charged for the spaces they are occupying.
“It seems to be grossly unfair, as there’s one rule for them and one rule for the rest,” he said. “They are taking up all these spaces and they aren’t paying.
“As a Babergh district councillor, I can’t see any sign of documents showing that these people should be given preferential treatment.
“The public are saying that they have to pay and the travellers do not, and that the wardens aren’t putting tickets on their vehicles, yet if I did the same I would get a ticket.
“This is discrimination of a high degree – people are saying they can’t believe it.”
Mr Sayers also claimed the travellers had made a mess of the car park during their time there.
“Babergh is going to have to clean it up as the car park is strewn with feathers,” he added.
John Murphy, one of the travellers, confirmed they were not paying parking charges and that they wanted to rent land on which to live.
“It’s a God-given right to have somewhere to live,” he said. “We went to London for a few weeks and came back. We have been around here for over 25 years and the children were born here.
“We’ve asked for somewhere to live. If the council gave us a bit of land we would pay rent, we’d clean it and look after it, but they don’t. They can keep moving us here and there.”
When asked how long they intended to stay in the area, Mr Murphy said: “We’ll be here until we die.”
Inspector Paul Crick, of Sudbury Police, said he was aware of the travellers and officers had been meeting with them three times a day.
“We have spoken with the group and are fully aware of people’s concerns,” he said.
“We are expecting them to move off the land shortly and, if not, we will be contacting the landowners.”
Neither Babergh District Council nor Suffolk County Council were available for comment.