Friday, September 22, 2006

Some Walsingham Pilgrims Causing Consternation for Residents of Medieval Village

Some pilgrims staying in Walsingham for the Feast of the Assumption last month created an unsightly mess for Walsingham's residents, and the villagers would like to avoid a repeat during this weekend's Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham:
Homeowners in a village dubbed 'England's Nazareth' are calling for tougher actions on travellers staying in the town.

Villagers in Walsingham, the home to the famous shrine, are furious at the authorities' failure to prevent travellers setting up camp in the coach park.

Walsingham resident Justin Morazzi said: "We have no problem with tourists and pilgrims - they bring a lot to the village - but recently we have had a lot of travellers who flock to the coach park.

"There are clear notices saying there is no overnight stay in that area but no one is enforcing it.

"Most recently we have had a group of travellers who arrived over the Feast of the Assumption [August 15] and made a disgusting mess of the coach park."

North Norfolk's environmental protection officer Mark Whitmore said: "The shrine authorities said that the group who caused the most trouble during the Assumption this year were not seen visiting the shrine.

"The police cannot move travellers by law unless they have an alternative site to move them to.

"We had begun to take action to remove the travellers legally by the time they left on September 2.

"We plan to set up designated stopping places for travellers but until that happens, it will be very difficult for police to move travellers on."

But Walsingham councillor Tom Moore added: "This has been going on for years - what we are really concerned about is the effect that this has on the image of the village for other visitors.

"We always try to make provision for the travellers at the Feast of the Assumption. One year we had a whole field set aside for them. We even made signs to it. And six of them went on there; the rest went on the coach park."

Fr Noel Wynn, director of the Catholic shrine, said: "We always make provision for the Feast of the Assumption but there are occasions when problems arise that we could not have foreseen."

A public meeting will be held to discuss the issue on September 29.
By "travellers", I'm assuming they mean these folks.

More on travellers in East Anglia here.

From the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

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