Travellers in Lloyd Park
12/07/2013......Posted by Vidhi Mohan
It is clear from the many phone calls and e-mails we have received, that many of you were alarmed by the fact that once again a group of Travellers found their way into Lloyd Park, and caused damage to the park and left behind heaps of rubbish. This group was particularly nasty, threatening Council staff who approached them.
As your local Councillors, we too were extremely angry and disappointed that this group was able to access the Park, and that it took around 4-5 days before they were evicted.
To tackle this growing problem the Council is now taking 2 steps to deal with these illegal encampments. Firstly we are working with the police to ensure that they are able to exercise their powers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows them to remove unauthorized encampments. So far the police have been reluctant to exercise these powers. However, we are now drawing up a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the police which will set out our joint commitment and responsibilities in dealing with encampments. It will include the conditions that need to be in place for the police to use their Section 61 powers and when the Council will use their powers. This will make the whole process clearer and will ensure a much more joined up and quicker response. The MOU is currently being drafted by the police and should be in place in the next few weeks.
Secondly we are applying to the Courts for an injunction, which will enable us to move travellers on immediately. We are working with our Legal Counsel collating evidence and drawing up supporting witness statements, and hope to make an application to the Courts in the next few weeks.
We hope this provides some reassurance to you, and would once again like to state that we are doing all we can to deal with this extremely complex legal and social problem. Our parks and open are meant for everybody to use and enjoy, and not for those who chose to damage our environment and cause great nuisance for local residents.