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Northampton tent village

July 06 2009
Slovakian immigrants set up a makeshift camp in Delapre Country Park A group of Slovakian immigrants have set up a makeshift camp near the lake in Delapre Country Park, Northampton, a local newspaper has reported. According to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, the five men, aged between 34 and 55, came to the UK five years ago, but lost their jobs and have been forced to camp in the woodland off Ransome Road, Far Cotton, since early May. Their camp is reportedly basic, with a tents and a small fire in the middle. One of the men, Roman Strmen, was quoted as saying: "We go every day to the agency and the job centre, but there are no jobs, so we have no house and no money. "We have been here for five years and we worked in Peterborough and Skegness, but there are too many problems. Back home in Slovakia, it's not good, so we will stay in England until we are dead". Mr Strmen said that the men had visited the Northampton Hope Centre and the Northampton Jesus Centre for food, but added that some of the group suffer from health problems and are unable to access treatment. This is not the first time a camp has been set up in the Delapre Park area. In September last year, the same publication reported an official investigation had been launched after homeless people set up five illegal camps in the park's woodland. At the time, the newspaper quoted local Conservative councillor Kevin Reeve as saying: "It is like the Sangatte refugee camp in France up there". The councillor claimed "they leave their shopping trolleys from Netto out in the open and they have been jumping out and scaring horse riders and people in the park". Another group, comprising homeless and unemployed people and students, was also reported as living in the park. After being evicted by landowners English Partnerships, part of the Homes and Communities Agency, the group relocated onto land owned by Northampton Borough Council The following week, another report on the group referred to them as being unemployed and students, adding that "despite officers' attempts to help, the handful of campers cannot be classified as homeless because they have voluntarily left their own accommodation". Councillor Brendan Glynane, the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, is reported as saying: "It would be the Homes and Communities Agency that would remove them, but if somebody from the borough council hasn't already, they will go down and see them and offer them help". A spokesperson for Northampton Borough Council told The Pavement at the time of writing that the council did offer help to the men but it was refused. The matter was then passed on to the police. The spokesperson added: "As far as I know, [the men] have been moved on".
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