DCSIMG

Traveller fest fears unfounded

Thousands of travellers arrived at a site in Overton near Morecambe for a national religious festival. The travellers' site, with Overton village in the background.  PIC BY ROB LOCK 25-7-2014

Thousands of travellers arrived at a site in Overton near Morecambe for a national religious festival. The travellers' site, with Overton village in the background. PIC BY ROB LOCK 25-7-2014

A religious festival in Overton attended by thousands of travellers has passed off without serious incident so far.

The Christian festival run by the Light and Life Gypsy Church is taking place in a private field near the village until July 31.

Residents have been worried that Overton, which has a population of just over 1,000, would not be able to cope with the huge influx of people and vehicles. There were also worries about possible anti-social behaviour.

But Reverend Hugh Thomas, from Overton St Helens Church, said he had received no complaints.

“I visited the site myself and they were very welcoming,” he said.

“As far as I’m aware all is well. The event is being stewarded very well. There is no hold up on traffic. The people are very sociable.”

Phil Hughes, landlord of the Globe Hotel, said: “We’ve had no problems whatsoever.

“There’s been a lot of scaremongering, but it seems very well organised.”

A resident of Overton, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We’re on the other side of the village to the festival and it’s been quiet. We’ve had quite a bit of traffic and the odd voice at night, but other than that there’s been no problems whatsoever.

“I took an extra day off work so I could be at home to protect my property, thinking there might be problems, but there hasn’t been.

“I’ve driven past and it seems well organised. The people have been very polite and courteous.

“I just hope there’s no traffic congestion when they all leave.”

Around 800 vehicles and caravans arrived at the site, which borders Lancaster Road, Kevin Grove and Overton St Helens school, on Friday afternoon. Meetings have been held on-site between event organisers, Overton Parish Council, Lancaster City Council and the emergency services.

Danny Maddox, chairman of Overton Parish Council, said things had gone “very smoothly” and the organisers were keen to deal with any issues that may arise.

“Anyone is welcome to see what they are doing and say hello,” said Mr Maddox.

Other Visitor readers who attended the festival, which includes religious services and talks by members of the Light and Life Gypsy Church, said they been made very welcome.

A police spokesman said there were no incidents related to the festival logged over the weekend.

But a resident of Overton, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “After 10pm when the police have gone there have been instances of racing around the village. There was one crash involving a Mercedes and a van, all occupants got out OK. There are cars, quads and motorbikes using the site as a racing track into the early hours and piping horns which as you can imagine for those in the immediate vicinity is unbearably loud. I have also witnessed people using a church, two fields and public path as their toilet.”

 

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