“This was totally foreseeable and Hythe Town Cllrs have done nothing to prevent it”, is how one residents sees the recent incursion by Travellers onto the South Rd – Hythe.
Another says “The Greens are “shit”, and didn’t pick up the cr*p the last lot of unwelcome and unwanted visitors left behind on the Hythe Green, nor will this lot either.”
And another said “HTC Cllrs couldn’t organize a p*ss up in a brewery.”
It’s clear that travelers pitching up on Hythe’s South Rd recreation ground has caused many to vent their feelings,
Travellers pitching up in Hythe is not new In 2009 Travellers pitched up on Hythe Green. In Jan 2019, Travellers pitched up in Fort Rd, Hythe. In May 2021, Travellers pitched up on Hythe Green again, costing thousands of pounds to clear up the mess when the Travellers were moved on via the legal process. In August 2022 a new incursion on the South Rd recreation ground – opposite Hythe Swimming Pool – has happened.
After the last incursion in May 2021 Hythe Town Councillors sprang into action via its Finance & General Purpose Committee (F&GP) in June 2021, to find ways to prevent further incursions on its land it either owns, or maintains via the charities it manages.
In council speak preventing incursions on HTC owned or managed land is called Target Hardening. In 2021 a report was commissioned setting out what Target Hardening Measures could be undertaken to prevent further incursions.
A Target Hardening Working Group was set up, demonstrating the intent and seriousness of the issue. HTC Cllrs Jim Martin (Green), Tim Prater (Lib Dem), Keith Miles (Con), Martin Whybrow (Green), Jenni Hawkins (Green) and Naomi Slade (Ind) sit on the working group.
At their first meeting in June 2021, it was unanimously decided to seek professional advice on future appropriate measures to add security measures – where feasible – on Hythe Green and other sites including South Road site where a new group of Travellers have pitched up. A report was commissioned
Another meeting of the Working Group was convened on the 1 Oct 2021 and members discussed the report they’d commissioned and compared it to a similar report issued in Aug 2018. Regarding the South Rd site, the following was agreed.
So after the meeting the Clerk when and got the quotes and reported these back to the Working Group for the South Rd Site. This was reported on March 29, 2022, as is made clear in the FGp-41/21-Target-Hardening-Report (page 6 onwards)
Since then no Target Hardening has been undertaken and the incursion onto the South Rd site has happened.
They say what a man can do in a day takes a committee a year, or in this instance a working group.
The Target Hardening report was delivered, and Cllrs have dithered some local residents say. It was foreseeable that further incursions would happen on HTC owned or managed land.
Now this sorry mess will cost money, to be specific it will cost the ratepayers within the boundary of Hythe money, to pay for the legal process to remove the travelers on the site, and possibly further money on any clean up which might be needed.
In a post to its Facebook page, Hythe Town Council said the legal process to remove the encampment, began on the 8 August.
Update: HTC announced that at 11am today, 10 Aug, the Travellers had left the South Rd recreation ground.
The Shepway Vox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful