Travellers decamp at business park

By Benedict O'ConnorA COUNCILLOR has called for the establishment of a legal travellers site after a group set up camp illegally on council-owned land.

By Benedict O'Connor

A COUNCILLOR has called for the establishment of a legal travellers site after a group set up camp illegally on council-owned land.

About 15 caravans moved on to land owned by Babergh District Council at Woodhall Business Park, Sudbury, on Thursday, prompting the authority to issue them with an official notice.

The move led Nick Irwin, a member of Suffolk County, Babergh District and Sudbury Town Councils, to call for a legal camp to be set up.

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"I have no problem with travellers and if we had a legal camp, then there would be no problem at all," he said.

"People are too quick to condemn them because they have a different way of life, but the only thing they seem to be doing wrong is camping illegally.

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"Rather than burying our heads in the sand, we should do something. The councils have plenty of land and we should set something up, with water and power and a skip for rubbish, so they could come and camp for a while before moving on."

A council spokesman said the notice served on the travellers informed them that they were camping illegally.

"Babergh cannot remove the travellers without a court order. Obtaining a court order can prove a lengthy process during which time the local authority will have to take up welfare inquiries with the social services and the local health authority," he added.

"Environmental health officers will be seeking advice from the council's solicitor later this week to ascertain the best course of action to remove the travellers."

The spokesman said the court order could take two or three weeks to obtain, but that may prove unnecessary as the travellers said yesterday they would soon be moving on.

The council spokesman added: "At the moment the travellers are not causing any harm in the vicinity. We are working very closely with Sudbury police and monitoring the activities of the group.

"We have also requested that they bag up their domestic waste and the litter warden will ensure the site is cleared of litter."

The police have discretionary powers to move travellers on, but these are only usually employed when the landowners' attempts to move them have been unsuccessful or the travellers are causing disorder.


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