Long Melford: Call for travellers to pay own removal costs

A COUNCILLOR has called for new rules that force travellers to pay the legal costs involved in moving them off council-owned and private land.

Richard Kemp, an independent parish, district and county councillor for Long Melford, spoke out after a number of caravans and vehicles belonging to travellers appeared on the Rodbridge picnic site, a designated wildlife park on the outskirts of the village, last Friday.

He said: “In recent months, travellers have been moved from Newton Green, Waldingfield air field and a site near the B&Q store in Sudbury. Each time, the actions have come at a significant cost to both private landowners and Suffolk County Council.

“The time has come when people should be compensated for these costs.” He said if the travellers hadn’t got the money, then their vehicles should be seized.

“I’m tired of seeing the public purse spent on extraneous issues such as this at a time when money is tight,” he added.

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In response, Julia Stephens-Rowe, Suffolk County Council’s assistant director for social inclusion and diversity said: “We consider each unauthorised gipsy traveller encampment on a case-by-case basis, working with police and other agencies to minimise disruption, while respecting the rights of the travelling population.

“If a decision is taken to evict the encampment then we can serve legal notice on the group and if necessary court action may be taken. It is a matter for the court should they decide to award any costs.”

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