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Three-year ban on unauthorised encampments in Elmbridge

3 minute read
Three-year ban on unauthorised encampments in Elmbridge

Published at 3:21pm 8th November 2018.

Elmbridge Borough Council has been granted a three-year protective injunction banning unauthorised encampments on public land.

The ban covers all of the Borough’s parks, open spaces and car parks and means the council no longer have to obtain court orders before being able to remove encampments.

High Court enforcement officers will be authorised to move people on if they ignore the order, with failure to do so possibly resulting in imprisonment, fines or seizure of assets.

The injunction, which also covers fly-tipping, is an extension of a three-month order made in August.

It prevents any individual from occupying land or depositing waste as well as stopping anyone from entering, or occupying any part of the land for residential purposes, including caravans, mobile homes and other vehicles.

Council leader Tim Oliver said:

"This will bring relief to our residents and businesses who have been impacted by the disruption throughout the summer.

"I would like to thank the Officers and Members of the Council for the hard work and diligence required to bring our case to the High Court.

"We will now carry on with the work we are doing to review the security of all of our open sites so that our communities can enjoy their surroundings, whilst continuing to closely monitor any illegal activity across the Borough.”

In court the Council evidenced the cost of clearing fly-tipping, damage to gates and barriers, lost parking income and the large increase in the number and size of recent encampments as well as the significant impact on communities living adjacent to each encampment and the loss of community facilities during the summer.

Superintendent Andy Rundle said:

“We understand the concerns and the impact on local communities in relation to allegations of criminality and anti-social behaviour associated with some of the recent encampments. When there is criminality of any sort, regardless of who is involved, we will respond and take action. 

“It is important to understand that Police powers are very specific and prescribed and do not cover civil issues, which we know can sometimes be frustrating and confusing for our communities. 

“However, in relation to recent events, we are now hopeful that with this injunction in place we can respond proactively to the concerns of local residents and reduce the negative impact of unauthorised encampments upon the local community.” 

This year has seen a large increase in unauthorised encampments across Surrey, with 27 on public parks and open spaces in Elmbridge.

Encampments have also been larger than previously with some encampments being over 60 vehicles in size. 

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