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Elmbridge encampment ban will 'impact on other boroughs'

3 minute read
Elmbridge encampment ban will 'impact on other boroughs'

Published at 6:01am 20th November 2018.

Elmbridge council leader Tim Oliver says they had “no alternative” but to seek a three-year High Court injunction banning illegal traveller encampments in the borough.

He stressed it will have an impact on other boroughs in Surrey, and they are talking to councils to find an “overall solution” for the county.

The injunction granted for Elmbridge Borough Council on November 8 covers all the borough’s parks, open spaces and car parks.

High Court enforcement officers now have the powers to move people on if they do not take notice of the injunction order.

Councillor Oliver said:

“It wasn’t a step I think any of us particularly wanted to take, but the level of damage and cost to this council that we experienced over the summer had got to the point where we had no alternative.

“It will potentially have an impact on the surrounding boroughs and we will continue to work with them to find an overall solution for Surrey.”

The charity Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) that works on behalf of Gypsies, travellers and Roma community, said it was “deeply saddened” by the court order.

Cllr Oliver added:

“I know there has been some criticism from various charities that work with the travelling community over the steps we have taken, but at the end of the day the evidence presented to the courts will show why we have taken these steps.

“I hope that will solve the problem for our borough and for our residents who were exceptionally long-suffering over the summer.”

The council evidenced large-scale fly-tipping and the cost of clearing it, 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.

The council said this year had seen an “unprecedented increase” in the levels of unauthorised camps with 27 in the borough.

It said the size of these encampments had also risen dramatically with some encampments being more than 60 vehicles in size.

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