Police issue eviction notice as Gypsy/Traveller numbers grow to 56 caravans.

Politics / Wed 9th Jul 2014 at 07:48am

THERE are currently four illegal encampments in Harlow totalling 56 caravans. There is an encampment of 26 caravans on Third Avenue, 19 caravans on Latton Common since last night and seven caravans on Harlow Common since last Thursday night (3 July 2014). All three of these encampments are on land owned by Harlow Council. There are a further seven caravans on the privately owned Nortel site on London Road.

Harlow Council is taking legal action against the encampments on its land and is working closely with the owners of the Nortel site to find a resolution to their situation.

On Tuesday afternoon, Essex Police served a section 61 notice for the encampment on Third Avenue. The Council was due to go to court on Friday 11 July 2014. The Council is awaiting a date for a hearing on the Harlow Common encampment and it has also started the legal process for the encampment on Latton Common.

Councillor Emma Toal, Portfolio Holder for Youth & Community, said: “I know that residents of Harlow are frustrated by the ongoing illegal encampments and we as the Council echo this feeling. We can’t evict encampments immediately, there is a legal process to follow and we are doing everything we can within the law to resolve the situation. We have agreement now from the courts that these issues will be treated urgently.

“Following conversations between the Council and the Police, this afternoon the Police agreed to serve a section 61 notice on the Third Avenue encampment.

“The priority is still to find a long-term solution to this problem rather than just allowing the travellers to move from site to site and we continue to work with Essex County Council, the Police and legal experts to investigate this. This will take time and unfortunately there is no simple solution.

“We also know that antisocial behaviour is a concern for residents and we are working with the Police to address any issues.

“Harlow has many green open spaces and we have protected what we can by spending over £25,000 in the last few years on things like erecting bollards, wooden posts, gates and digging ditches. The legal action the Council is taking and continues to take is about protecting the town’s green spaces and responding to the concerns of residents.

“We are taking the legitimate concerns and complaints of residents seriously and are doing everything legally possible to resolve this situation as soon as possible.”

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