Measures Taken at Hammersmith Hospital to Block Travellers

Barriers installed at entrance after five encampments in car park

Car parking at Hammersmith Hospital.
Car parking at Hammersmith Hospital. Picture: Google Streetview

June 25, 2023

Hammersmith Hospital is set to receive new height restriction barriers to deter Travellers after caravans were spotted going into the car park.

It has been the site of five ‘incursion’ incidents, with three eviction papers having been served to Travellers who occupied the staff car park in March, April and May 2023.

Now, the council has pledged a £60,000 budget to bolster the security of the hospital and adjacent Wormwood Scrubs.

The new changes will see the implementation of height restriction barriers in the parking lots, bollards around the green space entrances and reinforced fencing in certain areas.

But the Traveller community has hit back at the proposals and blames the lack of legal encampments in the borough for the setups.

Ilinca Diaconescu, policy and campaigns coordinator of London Gypsies and Travellers, said, “In Hammersmith and Fulham, and London more widely, there are currently no transit sites or stopping places. This means that families who are travelling are often forced to stop in unsafe and unsuitable places.

“We urge the local authority to better understand the accommodation needs of nomadic Gypsies and Travellers stopping in the borough and to explore alternatives such as negotiated stopping.

“This is a balanced and humane approach to managing roadside camps, based on a mutual agreement between the local authority and Gypsy and Traveller families on matters such as suitable stopping locations, waste disposal and basic temporary facilities.”

The Wormwood Scrubs committee unanimously approved the new plans on Wednesday, 21 June.

During the meeting, it was promised that the height restriction barriers would cause no difficulty to staff, patients or emergency vehicles.

Andrew Dawson, Deputy Head of Facilities at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, added that CCTV will be improved around the hospital to monitor any return Travellers.

He said, “We are continuing to work with the local authority on plans to prevent future disruption for staff and patients who use the North car park at Hammersmith Hospital. This includes installing additional barriers and extending our CCTV so we can improve our monitoring of the space.”

Alicia Curry – Local Democracy Reporter