Travellers on Front Lane Car Park
The Council and Police have been fully aware of their presence and have undertaken a number of actions to ensure their removal from the site.
S61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 gives power to the Police to serve notices. It only applies where there are six or more caravans or the occupiers have caused damage to the land or used threatening, abusive or insulting words/behaviour towards the occupier. It is up to the Police to use this power, but Council does not believe the relevant criteria to enable them to serve this notice has been met.
Where there is an incursion on Council owned land, consideration is given to the most effective way of bringing it to an end. In most cases travellers are persuaded to leave and agree a time for them to leave and removal is effective. Notice may also be served for them to leave under common law. Where there is failure to leave, Baliffs are appointed using common law powers. These powers are limited but it is the quickest way of achieving removal.
Officers have visited the site and assessed the welfare of the occupants. A common law notice to leave was served and bailiffs appointed. When the bailiffs tried to evict on Saturday the travellers refused to remove a minor from the caravan, preventing the removal of the caravans.
The Council has now moved to Section 77 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. If the travellers ignore the S77 Notice, the Council can serve a summons to court. The Council would then be seeking an order from the Court under S78 to require the travellers to leave. This process will unfortunately take time.
In regard to penalty charge notice and rubbish clearance, this is unlikely to persuade the travellers to move. Consideration is also given to the risk council officers may be at when presenting PCNs.
Councillor Gillian Ford