Gypsy-Travellers move to Newhall: “Legislation could take years” says Council leader

Politics / Mon 8th Sep 2014 at 08:52am

THE unauthorised encampment, which was Waterhouse Moor playing field, moved on Tuesday 2 September to land at Newhall, after Essex Police served a Section 61 notice. The land at Newhall is privately owned by Linden Homes. This group consists of 20 caravans plus vehicles.

A separate group of six caravans, previously encamped on Katherines/Tithelands playing field, has today (5 September 2014) moved to land on Pinceybrook Road. This land is owned by Harlow Council.

Council Officers visited the site and served the group with a “direction to leave” by 4pm today.

Councillor Jon Clempner, Leader of Harlow Council, said:

“As the encampment at Newhall is on private land, it is the responsibility of the landowner to take appropriate action. Harlow Council will, however, provide advice and support where necessary.

“The Council will continue to take the necessary action to protect the town’s much-loved green spaces and respond to residents’ concerns. We are moving as quickly as we legally can.

“We continue to work with Essex Police and Essex County Council to explore every legal avenue to find a long-term solution which will protect our green open spaces from unauthorised encampments. I apologise to residents that we can’t say anymore at this point but work behind the scenes is taking place.

“It has been suggested that the Council introduces local byelaws. We have considered this but with the number of green open spaces in Harlow the process would take months, possibly years, as byelaws would need to be drafted, extensive consultation carried out and be approved by the Secretary of State. There is no guarantee that we would get byelaws in place and even if we did breaking them would only result in a fine issued by a magistrates court which is unlikely to be an effective deterrent. This is why we are looking at every legal avenue.”

Harlow Council and Essex Police continue to work together and the Police will be monitoring sites on a daily basis. The Council is asking residents that if they see or have any evidence of any criminal activity or antisocial behaviour relating to the encampments that it is reported to the Police on 101 or 999 if it is an emergency.

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1 Comment for Gypsy-Travellers move to Newhall: “Legislation could take years” says Council leader:

2014-09-08 17:03:00

There is now also a small group of caravans on the cycle track/footpath behind The Briars/Aylets Field. Hope Harlow TUC were there to welcome them.

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