Golf club closes and bailiffs appointed as travellers move onto the course

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 22, 2021 09:47

A golf club in Coventry has had to close for at least a whole day, while bailiffs have been appointed and police have blockaded its entrance, after a group of travellers set up an encampment on its land.

Footage shows approximately seven caravans and other vehicles moved onto the course between the practice area and the 17th green at Nuneaton Golf Club shortly before 9pm on July 20, and the club was forced to close on July 21, one of the hottest days of the year. It appears to still be closed on the morning of July 22 but hopes to reopen shortly.

Within about three hours of the vehicles appearing, police cars blocked the entrance to the golf club in order to stop any more caravans entering the land.

“A decision was made to lock the gates after the travellers arrived on site, which caused some upset,” said a club source.

“The police arrived and decided to park a car across the entrance. Travellers who were there could leave and come back but no more could enter the site. Two more vans were turned away.”

Because it is private land, the golf course is not covered by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’s traveller injunction, and therefore has to take legal action to move them off, unless there are grounds for police to move them on.

This point was reiterated in a discussion between the local MP, Marcus Jones, and nearby MP, Craig Tracey, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Golf.

By July 21, bailiffs had been appointed to remove the travellers.

“At 7am the police car left, so the golf club committee took the decision to do the same thing and park a car across the entrance, again, allowing cars to leave and return, but no more were allowed on,” added the golf club.

“The club has also taken the decision to appoint bailiffs and we’re optimistic we could have them off the golf course today or tomorrow.

“It’s sent shockwaves across golf clubs in the Midlands as many clubs are quite open in terms of their access.

“Members have been informed that the course will be closed today and tomorrow.

“There are a couple of financial factors here. The cost of removing the travellers will not be cheap and nor will be looking at how we can prevent further incidents. Then there is lost takings from the bar, visitors to the course and societies as well as our club shop.”

The illegal encampment was served with an eviction order in the afternoon on July 21 and was given 24 hours to vacate the site.

A security firm is also set to be in place overnight patrolling the area.

Several golf clubs have had issues with travellers over the years, in 2017 one group of travellers issued a £500 ransom to Beverley and East Riding Golf Club in order to leave, after arriving while a club competition was taking place.

Update: The travellers left the club by early evening on July 22 – nearly 48 hours after they had arrived.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 22, 2021 09:47
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