A CONCERNED councillor is calling for more protection for a beauty spot after a group of travellers pitched up on a car park for a week.

A group of eight caravans and motorhomes moved on to the Chanterelle car park, which is used by visitors to High Woods Country Park in Colchester, last Saturday.

With Essex Police unable to use “Section 61” powers to move the group, landowner Colchester Council was forced to seek a court order.

The travellers eventually left the premises a week after their arrival, before bailiffs were called in.

To gain access to the car park, the travellers are understood to have circumvented a height limiter which blocks entrance to the car park to tall vehicles.

Gerard Oxford, borough councillor for Highwoods, wants to see more stringent measures in place to protect the land in future.

He said: “As soon as I heard they had moved on I contacted the relevant people about the clear up and securing the height limiter again.

“Everything at the country park is run by the council so the clear up is the authority’s responsibility which means taxpayers will pay for it.

“I have asked for more stringent measures to be put in place and for a timeline of when these measures could be introduced.”

Mr Oxford and his fellow Highwoods Independent councillors received nearly 500 complaints about the encampment with people stopping Mr Oxford in the street about the issue.

He said: “I understand residents’ concerns because now it has happened once it could well set a precedent for the future.”

The clean-up of the site was completed by officers and volunteers on Sunday and the car park has now been reopened to members of the public.

A spokesman for Colchester Council said: “Neighbourhood Services visited the site on Sunday to undertake clear-up work and found the area had been left relatively tidy by the travellers.

“We are investigating ways to prevent further encampments at the site.

“But the council does have to achieve a balance between permitting legitimate vehicular access for visitors, staff, community events organisers, contractors and emergency vehicles, while also deterring unpermitted vehicular access.”