Search

Council bid to ban travellers from Barking and Dagenham sites goes to the High Court

PUBLISHED: 15:19 28 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:24 28 March 2017

Barking Park is one of the sites Barking and Dagenham Council wants to ban travellers and gypsies setting up camp on

Barking Park is one of the sites Barking and Dagenham Council wants to ban travellers and gypsies setting up camp on

Archant

A ban on gypsies and travellers setting up camp on sites across the borough is due to be heard in the High Court tomorrow.

Barking and Dagenham Council is seeking an interim injunction from the Royal Courts of Justice against illegal encampments on sites across the borough in an effort to prevent damage and cuts costs.

If granted, the order will give the council the power to remove travellers from camps appearing in 140 places including parks, schools and commercial areas.

And the order would give police the power to arrest people who refuse to move.

As part of the drive, signs warning 64 named travellers with a history of setting up illegal camps in the borough have gone up outside the different locations.

Debby Kennett from non-profit organisation the London Gypsy and Traveller Unit described the move as “a draconian response” to the housing needs of gypsies and travellers.

Debby said: “This approach is extremely costly and criminalises families who have no option but to live on roadside encampments due to the failure of councils over decades to provide enough authorised pitches.”

She added that a 2008 study identified a need for 811 pitches across the capital to provide space for travellers, but to date only 10 have been provided.

As an alternative, Debby urged the council to consider adopting a “negotiated stopping” approach instead which would see the local authority reach an agreement with travellers and gypsies to remain on a piece of ground under certain conditions - such as not lighting fires or dumping waste - for a limited period without being evicted.

“This demonstrates a practical and humane alternative to continual evictions or banning travellers which is not a solution for the needs of children and families who simply have nowhere to live,” Debby said.

In its applciation the council submitted 1,700 pages of evidence saying 81 illegal encampments appeared between 2014 and 2016 and claiming the travellers caused “significant nuisance and community tension”, “flouted the law” and left behind human excrement.

A council spokesman said: “We want to put a stop to the damage caused by illegal encampments – damage that affects businesses, residents and schools and costs us hundreds of thousands of pounds to fix every year.”

Related articles

Latest Barking and Dagenham Stories

17:00

May & Baker manager Micky Wetherall says his side will be full of confidence ahead of their trip to Lopes Tavares.

56 minutes ago

A photographer who hates having his picture taken has made a last minute call for votes after his work was shortlisted in a national competition.

Veteran manager signs up for stint on reality TV show

12:00

Barking assistant manager Andre Thomas admitted late 1-0 defeat to high-flying Coggeshall Town was tough to take.

10:00

Defender had impressed for Essex club in early part of season, but has been out of favour in recent weeks

PROMOTED CONTENT

Are you aged over 25 and an unpaid carer? If you want to return to employment but need practical help and support to get there, Working for Carers can help.

Everest Estates stress-free service guarantees a fixed income for your East London or Essex property every month, even if no one is currently living there. Here they talk about the scheme and explain how it can help you dodge common letting headaches.

Barking and Dagenham is home to Better Extreme, London’s largest indoor skatepark. Whatever your discipline, be it skateboarding, inline, BMX or scootering, there’s a challenge waiting for you.

Newsletter Sign Up

Barking and Dagenham Post twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Barking and Dagenham Post
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now