Park death: barrier was there to stop travellers
COUNCILLORS say a barrier that stopped an ambulance getting into a Cheltenham park had been introduced to prevent illegal travellers going on to the land.
But they will discuss what to do in future.
Paramedics needed police to cut down a 2.2m-high barrier to access fields near the Brizen Young People's Centre, in Up Hatherley, after a 64-year-old man collapsed and died.
The barrier has been replaced and re-bolted since the incident on Saturday.
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But, rather than removing the gate in case of future problems, members of Warden Hill and Leckhampton parish council have said that it would be safer if authorities requested keys in an emergency.
By doing so, they said it would make it safer for the community by preventing travellers and other motorists taking over the land.
Peter Lynch, parish councillor and trustee for the Brizen Young People's Centre, said: "The barrier is there for security reasons, to stop the travellers and gypsies who congregate throughout the country.
"They [the emergency services] know where we are. The listings are on noticeboards and there are enough noticeboards around here. I have also been informed that police do have a key."
The issue could be on the agenda for the council's next meeting in September. South West Ambulance Service Trust said its staff out on the road had to adapt to different scenarios from day to day.
Councillors will debate other ways to keep Brizen Playing Fields safe as well as easily accessible for emergency staff.
"It keeps the area nice and tidy for all the residents and all the other people to use," said Mr Lynch.
"We don't normally have problems as a parish council and we have a good relationship with the local constabulary.
"There are three of us who live two minutes from Warden Hill Estate and at least one of us is always available.
"Would you suggest leaving [the barrier] unlocked all the time and have it abused? That would be defeating the object. It is sad that somebody has unfortunately died. It could happen to anyone."