A CAR park occupied by Travellers over Christmas has been awarded a crime prevention award.
The facility, at the corner of Wellington Road and Cromwell Road in Ellesmere Port, has received the Safer Parking Park Mark Award, which officials hope will help “deter and prevent criminal activity”.
It gained this recognition after being inspected by the parking industry shortly before 19 caravans trespassed on to the site on December 14.
From the start the Travellers refused to leave the car park, which is used regularly by residents, shoppers and market traders.
This forced the borough council to apply for an eviction order from Chester County Court the week before Christmas.
But because court bailiffs didn’t work over the holidays, the Travellers didn’t move until the week of January 14 when the court officials visited the site.
During their stay the Travellers were provided with skips and toilets, which they paid for themselves, by the council.
Their presence caused concern among neighbours, with one man refusing to leave his house over the Christmas and New Year period fearing he would be attacked.
Now a council report to the environment committee describes how the car park, which was invaded by Travellers at least three times in 2007, has scooped a safety award.
Parking services unit manager Margaret Morris said: “Achieving the award is a strong recognition that car park owners, management and the police have worked together to achieve safe, reactive, and high-standard parking that will be beneficial to the public.
“The sight of the Park Mark sign at the entrance to a car park should inspire confidence and reassurance for the driver that they are entering a safer parking area where measures are in place to help deter and prevent criminal activity.”
She said Wellington Road car park was built to a safer design standard, and measures implemented in order to win the award included closing the entrance and exit barriers in the evenings, and extra traffic management bollards.