Travellers to pay for eviction costs

By James HoreTRAVELLERS who were evicted from land they owned have been told they will have to pay for the costs of the operation.About 30 adults and children were removed from the site in Little Waltham in January because they had been living there without planning permission.

By James Hore

TRAVELLERS who were evicted from land they owned have been told they will have to pay for the costs of the operation.

About 30 adults and children were removed from the site in Little Waltham in January because they had been living there without planning permission.

The families, who had been on the land since 2001, were evicted by a team of specialist bailiffs, with the cost to the borough's taxpayers totalling about £150,000.


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But the council has now decided it will try to recoup some of the costs from the travellers.

It said in a statement: “Chelmsford Borough Council is taking steps in the courts at the moment to recover the costs of the eviction.

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“This may result in individual travellers being billed for a proportion of the costs or the land being sold to recover some or all of the money.”

A council spokeswoman said the cost would be about £18,000 per plot, but acknowledged some of the families could be hard to track down.

Lilly McCann, whose family was one of the 15 evicted and who is now living at a site near Birmingham, said she did not have the money to pay the council bill.

“We won't be able to pay it. How much would they want from us? After all they did to us and now they want to make us pay for it,” she added.

“I would actually love to go back there. My son Jimmy has not been back to school since we left, they loved it there.”

n A mobile library for travellers run by Essex County Council has won an award for the service it provides.

The Libraries Change Lives award was presented by the Port Laureate, Andrew Motion, at a ceremony in London.

The mobile library works on five sites in the county and with eight primary schools that have a high percentage of traveller children on their roll.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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