Family picnic area dogged by rumours of potential gypsy camp

Stickney Picnic Area

Stickney Picnic Area


Residents who fought to stop people using a popular picnic area as a sexual hangout now face a battle to prevent it becoming a potential gypsy site.

Stickney Picnic Area is a large area of grass, trees and wildlife, popular with families, dog walkers and visitors heading for the coast.

But now it has been suggested as a potential site for a gypsy transit camp at a meeting of a neighbouring parish council.

“It’s a vital amenity for a number of villages in the area and I will fight this tooth and nail if they even think about using Stickney for the traveller site,” said county and district councillor Victoria Ayling. “I’m absolutely and totally against it. It’s ridiculous we have got to provide a site like this inthe first place.”

The suggestion, made by members of the public, was relayed at a West Keal Parish Council meeting by a district councillor.

Local authorities are required to find gypsy transit sites as part of the Government’s policy on travellers.

There will be three transit sites, one in Mablethorpe, one in Skegness and one on the A16 between Boston and Spilsby – along with a permanent site and 20 stopping points in the county.

Villagers are concerned sites in Stickney could now be highlighted for a potential gypsy transit camp which would see travellers living there for up to 28 days at a time.

Over the years the picnic area has been plagued with doggers - people meeting for sex.

Ten years’ ago the Standard ran a campaign for picnickers to claim back the site. Along with the work of the district council, police and determined locals - the problem was greatly reduced.

Resident and former parish councillor Brian Wood said: “A few years ago we worked with the council’s anti-social behaviour officer and a number of ASBO letters were sent to doggers. It virtually cut the whole thing out altogether. We do still get the odd re-appearance of them but it’s nothing like it used to be.”

Mr Woods said he is strongly against the being considered for the gypsy camp. “It is used by families with children for days out and it’s the only place for miles with public toilets. Plus it would have a detrimental affect on wildlife there - with weasels, stoats and owls among other animals living there. There’s also two rare species of orchid. It’s really a rather special place and it would seem an awful pity if people were to lose all this.”

He added: “As soon as we start to object, some people call us names like ‘nimby’ or ‘racist’, but it’s not about that. All we are trying to do is protect our way of life.”

Some residents have also pointed to the fact that the area is prone to surface flooding.

As reported in October, other potential areas suggested for the transit site included Freiston, Stickford and East Keal.

An ELDC spokesman said they have yet to identify areas for the required traveller sites but will consult the public before any decision is made.




Back to the top of the page