Labour Leader praises swift action to remove Traveller encampment in Harlow
HARLOW Council Leader and Bush Fair ward councillor, Mark Ingall today thanked council officers, Essex Police and HTS staff for their swift action over the Bank Holiday weekend to remove a group of Travellers who set up an illegal camp on the field fronting onto Second Avenue and Tillwicks Road.
The group were moved on, the site was cleaned and all refuse was removed within 24 hours.
Cllr Ingall said today: “On behalf of my fellow ward councillors and residents, I would like to thank all those who played a part in the swift and incident free removal of the group of Travellers who set up a camp on a field in Bush Fair. The situation was very well handled and it is a credit to all the agencies and individuals involved that a positive outcome was achieved so swiftly.
“Harlow is almost unique in Britain in having an injunction that protects our green spaces from Traveller encampments. In March 2015, under Labour’s administration, Harlow Council and Essex County Council jointly applied for an interim district-wide injunction to protect public spaces from unauthorised encampments. We took this action after the town experienced 109 different unauthorised encampments in a period of nearly 18 months.
“In June 2017 the injunction was extended for a further three years until midnight on 14 June 2020.
“This latest incident was only the third since the extension was granted and like the previous two, was dealt with within 24 hours.
“The injunction is key to our ability to take swift action such as was taken over the weekend. It enables us to uphold the law, responding and listening to the concerns of residents and businesses, and protecting the town’s green open spaces and business areas. It is not – and never has been – about persecuting any particular group of people or their way of life, which is why, compared to the rest of Essex, Harlow has the highest number of authorised public pitches located across two permanent traveller sites in the town.
“We continue to work to ensure we meet our future planning obligations and that we work with neighbouring authorities to ensure that their existing permanent public traveller sites are well managed and help meet future demand for pitches.”
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