Action taken to remove traveller encampment at Pingles
Published on Thursday, 10th January 2019
The Borough Council is seeking a court order to remove travellers who have moved onto the car park at the Pingles Leisure Centre.
The group of around 20 caravans arrived late on Tuesday evening, breaking through barriers which had been put in place by the Council in an attempt to protect the site.
Council officers visited the site early yesterday morning to carry out the welfare checks required by law and to issue directions to move. It is hoped that the travellers will respond to the notices and move on quickly, but in case they fail to do so, a court hearing has been booked for Friday 11 January, the earliest available session.
Cabinet Member, Cllr Barry Longden said:
“We began legal proceedings immediately, as we always do and booked the earliest possible court date. The Council is working as fast as the existing law allows, to bring this situation to a conclusion. We have requested assistance from our police colleagues, who have different legal powers to move illegal travellers on and may be able to remove this encampment earlier, given its impact upon the local community.
"These unauthorised encampments cause great distress and cost us an enormous amount of money - it is extremely frustrating for everyone. The Council has invested time and money trying to protect our community spaces, but barriers aren’t always effective if people are determined to gain access.”
Pingles Leisure Centre remains open to the public and areas of the car park may be used by customers if they wish to do so.
The Council continues in its endeavours to secure a high court injunction, which would better protect its land from future incursions. Substantial evidence is required to satisfy a court that such powers are necessary and the services of a specialist barrister have been employed to provide the best possible chance of success.
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