Douglas Carswell called on by Tendring District Council to help them deal with travellers faster

Travellers set up camp at the Martello Coach Park in Clacton on October 26, 2015. Picture: Tendring

Travellers set up camp at the Martello Coach Park in Clacton on October 26, 2015. Picture: Tendring District Council - Credit: Archant

An Essex MP is supporting a local council’s pleas to be given powers to better deal with traveller encampments.

Tendring District Council has had an on-going problem with groups setting up camp around the district in recent months, with one currently occupying a car park in Clacton.

It has had to cover the costs of moving on travellers and clearing up sites on a number of occasions in recent months and wants new measures brought in to help it deal with incidents faster, particularly when groups only move short distances.

Paul Honeywood, the council’s cabinet member for housing, as written to Clacton MP Douglas Carswell asking him to bring the matter up in parliament.

He said: “There have been a large number of groups of Travellers turning up on TDC land throughout the summer and it is continuing to this day.

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“We have tried every avenue open to us to move them on using the correct and appropriate procedures but it just means the situation reoccurs on a different site.

“We are also looking for new ways to prevent repeat incursions within a certain geographic area – say 30 miles – and to have some type of mechanism to be able to recover the costs of clearing up the sites afterwards.”

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In his letter to Mr Carswell, Mr Honeywood said that “almost without exception domestic refuse, building waste and the results of garden clearance are left in the vicinity of the incursions sites” with the cost of removing it falling on local taxpayers.

He added it would be prohibitively expensive to try and make all council land inaccessible to travellers and that he could see no good reason why the travelling community should not making contributions to the cost of clearing up after they leave.

Mr Carswell said he was very much on the council’s side.

“I have written to the minister saying Tendring council has a good point here,” he said last night.

“They have done exactly the right thing throughout the summer, they have taken swift robust action whenever they have found travellers camped illegally but they have had to go through the same legal process again and again.

“How can it be fair for local council tax payers to have to jump the same legal hurdles at considerable cost every time someone moves their illegal camp half way down the road?”

The travellers at the Martello car and coach park, owned by TDC, have been issued with penalties for parking their vehicles on the land without tickets.

After they failed to obey a direction to leave notice from the Essex Countywide Traveller Unit they were served with a summons to attend Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

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