December 7 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, September 12, 2013
A council is due to go to the High Court to seek an injunction as a “last resort” to prevent travellers returning to a number of sites.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council has been facing persistent unauthorised encampments on land it owns, including car parks and open spaces, in the Bury St Edmunds area.
A spokeswoman for the council said it is seeking a pre-emptive injunction for the most sensitive sites, where it has already established it will not tolerate occupation and there is a significant risk of travellers returning.
In recent months the council has seen seven unauthorised encampments, ranging from five to 19 caravans, which were dispersed using the Suffolk Protocol for Managing Unauthorised Encampments.
Yesterday, St Edmundsbury’s cabinet agreed to seek legal protection for sensitive sites.
Anne Gower, cabinet member for housing at the borough council, said: “The protocol has been very effective in managing a cycle of occupation but it doesn’t cover the circumstances leading up to the occupation, and while we have been taking practical steps through means such as fencing and planting, these costly measures are not guarantees of success.
“The government recently re-issued guidance including protection of vulnerable sites by pre-emptive injunction. It is clear to us in the light of recent experiences that we have to follow this up.”
Each injunction for each site could cost between £2,000 to £3,000.
Section 77 notices – which protect recently occupied sites from reoccupation for three months – have already been issued at the following Bury sites between June and September: Holywater Meadow, Ten Acre Field, Heldhaw Road, Pond Grove Close, Layhill Covert, St Andrews Car Park and Ram Meadow Car Park.