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Saturday, 29 November 2014

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Human waste left behind in Carlisle park

Human waste and toilet paper was left in woodland after travellers set up an illegal camp on a Carlisle park.

Keenan Park camp photo

Politicians say clean-up staff “shouldn’t have had to deal” with what they found in the aftermath of the settlement at Keenan Park in Harraby.

About 20 caravans and vans pitched up on the park at the end of May, prompting claims from people living nearby that they had been put off visiting the site.

The park has allotments, a children’s play area, full-sized football pitches and a changing pavilion.

Now a report to Carlisle City Council has revealed the mess left after the encampment. It was discussed by councillors at a meeting of the authority.

The report states: “At Keenan Park a group of travellers arrived in the week prior to the Appleby Horse Fair.

“They were served with notice to quit within 24 hours of arriving and provided with refuse sacks to collect their rubbish, which they continued to use during their stay on the park.

“About 15 black sacks per day were collected from the roadside by the street cleaning mobile team. The group of mixed-nationality travellers, with about 20 caravans, stayed for seven days.

“The clean-up entailed six man hours and mainly consisted of clearing human waste and toilet paper from the woodland plantations which had been used as a latrine area.”

Elsie Martlew, Labour’s deputy leader of the council, said: “We can’t expect our staff to clean up human excrement that was found in the woodland nearby.

“It’s just not on.

“I feel very, very strongly that our staff shouldn’t have to deal with what they’ve had to deal with.”

Mrs Martlew stressed “all travellers are not the same”, adding those who had recently visited the city with a fairground left their patch so clean “you could eat your dinner off it”.

She said those who had left mess at Keenan Park had “no respect for the environment” and “no respect for the people who live nearby”.

Ray Bloxham, a Conservative councillor for Longtown and Rockcliffe, said agencies needed to coordinate their work and there was a need to get together and discuss the issue.

The weather was wet at the time and the park became muddy and rutted as a result of vehicle movements, the report said.

“The wheel ruts in the field were relatively minor and the ground will recover after levelling,” it added.

The park is regularly used by children and adults playing football as well as dog walkers.

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