Published: Thursday, 18th January 2018
Residents are being urged to report any suspected illegal encampments on land owned by the Royal Borough following a three month ban.
Copies of the Injunction obtained at the High Court are now displayed at all the 203 Council owned parks and spaces it protects. The Council is set to return to the court to extend the ban, secured just before Christmas, when it ends on 19 March.
A special reporting line has now been established to enable residents to help the council enforce the ban by reporting any suspected illegal encampments on Council owned parks and open spaces.
The Council's successful application was made after four camps were illegally set up on its land in just ten days during October and November last year. The move means the Council will not have to take action every time a camp is set up which can delay evictions. Anyone flouting the ban will be committing contempt of court and so they may face arrest, possible confiscation of assets or imprisonment.
The Royal Borough has seen a major increase in the number of illegal encampments in the past five years with 26 since April 2015. During just 10 days in October and November last year camps were set up on land in Footscray Road, The Course in Eltham, Coldharbour Playing Fields and Fairy Hill Park in Eltham. The 26 encampments has left the Council with a bill of more than £400,000 to cover the cost of evictions, rubbish removal and ground restoration.
The Council has an established site for travellers at the Thistlebrook site in Abbey Wood which can accommodate 60 homes such as trailers, caravans and mobile homes.
Report a suspected illegal encampment
To report a suspected illegal encampment, please email email@example.com.
'Help support this important ban'
Cllr Jackie Smith, Cabinet member for Community Safety and Environment, said: "We are urging residents to help support this important ban by reporting any suspicions of illegal encampments in any of our parks or open spaces.
"We sought a ban in response to a catalogue of concerns raised by residents and businesses over damage to parks and open spaces, fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour from persistent encampments. Unlawful camps have required the Council to carry out costly clean-up operations amounting to thousands of pounds."