A park protection group has raised concerns after a traveller community moved onto Manor Road Park at the weekend.
Members of Friends of Manor Park– the group behind refurbishments to the park completed in March– has reported that seven caravans on Sunday morninghad become thirteen by Monday.
A traveller community previously moved onto Manor Road Park last year and remained for two weeks until being forced to move.
James Stevens, of Friends of Manor Park, told Luton News that last time travellers took up residence in the park ‘it took a lot of time to clean up the rubbish’.
Chairman of the group and Bailey Street resident Bill Burton, 71, added: “People have been going to the toilet underneath the play areas, so children cannot use them”.
Both were concerned that the travelling community in the park could undo the work put into the refurbishments, which came by way of a £50,000 grant from the Big Lottery Community Spaces fund.
Refurbishments included resurfacing of the pathways, installation of new benches and the improvement of the Victorian rose garden.
Upgrades led to Manor Park being given a Green Flag Award, recognising it as one of the UK’s leading green spaces.
Mr Burton added: “They should be moved straight away.
“We’ve spent all this money on a community park, but now people can’t use it”.
Mr Stevens, 83, said: “When it rains and the wheeled vehicles drive across, it leads to big ruts in the ground.
“Why, with the council cuts, should so much money be taken away from social services and paying residents, and spent on the legal cost of removing the travellers and cleaning up the mess they leave behind?”
Mr Stevens added his desire for a byelaw which would prevent four wheeled vehicles from staying in the park.
A Luton Borough Council spokesperson confirmed that the legal process to evict the travellers has begun.