Published: Monday, 18th June 2018
A group of travellers were rapidly evicted from parkland thanks to a High Court injunction secured by the Royal Borough.
The Council were able to use its powers to evict a group of travellers who pitched up on Bostall Heath with 12 caravans, towing vehicles and tipper trucks last Tuesday evening around 8pm.
The Royal Borough secured a three-year ban on unlawful encampments in all its 203 parks and open spaces, including land around housing estates, in March this year. The injunction granted at the High Court, which runs until March 2021, extended an interim three-month ban previously secured by the Council.
Under the ban the Council can evict travellers' immediately without having to go through the process of taking individual court action against them. The key aim of the ban, which only applies to land owned by the Royal Borough, is to deter illegal encampments.
Following discussions with the Council the group of travellers who arrived on Bostall Heath were allowed to stay until the following day as a child needed to attend a health appointment.
However as some caravans remained on the site on Wednesday afternoon the travellers were warned the Met Police would arrive at 5pm to enforce the encampment ban and potentially seize vehicles. Due to the strong partnership action by the Council and Police officers the final four caravans vacated the site by 7.20pm on Wednesday.
It is understood the group had driven its vehicles onto the land after cutting off the padlock of a gate and by removing two posts on Longleigh Lane.
Copies of the injunction are posted outside all 203 Council sites it protects.
'We hope this sends a strong message'
Councillor Jackie Smith, the Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Integrated Enforcement, said: "We are absolutely determined to protect our parks and open land from the damage illegal travellers' encampments can cause.
"We took decisive action to ban unlawful encampments on our land in response to the huge number of concerns expressed by residents and businesses over issues such as fly-tipping and other environmental crimes."
"I am pleased to see the ban being effectively enforced to protect Bostall Heath and would like to praise the good partnership work by the Royal Borough officers with the Met Police to enforce it. We hope this sends out a strong message that unlawful occupation of Royal Borough land will not be tolerated."
Report suspected illegal encampments
To report a suspected illegal encampment email firstname.lastname@example.org.