REPRESENTATIVES of the Gypsy and Traveller community have described the news that Harlow Council has withdrawn their application for an injunction against unlawful encampments as “fantastic news”.
In 2015, Harlow District Council and Essex County Council were the first local authorities to obtain an injunction protecting vast swathes of land in their areas against unauthorised encampments.
Harlow District Council sought variation of the injunction to continue it beyond its final date at a virtual hearing before Mrs. Justice Tipples on Friday 10th July 2020.
Friends Families and Travellers instructed Chris Johnson of Community Law Partnership to put in written submissions before the hearing reports gypsy-traveller.org
Further details of the case can be found if you click on the link.
Commenting on the news, Chris Johnson, Partner at Community Law Partnership said:
“We trust that this will finally send a clear message to those local authorities who still think that it is a good idea to take wide injunction action against “persons unknown” regarding Gypsy and Traveller encampments that such injunctions should not be sought and that any applications for fresh injunctions or for renewed injunctions that are proceeding should be withdrawn.”
Adding to these remarks, Victoria Gilmore, Policy and Project Officer at Friends Families and Travellers said:
“Finally, common sense prevails! It’s shameful and inhumane to see councils ploughing huge sums of public money into legal action against Travellers when there is a simple solution – meet your planning duty to nomadic communities. It’s futile identifying places Travellers can’t stop if you’ve never taken the time to work out where they can stop. Everybody needs a place to live.”
Comments from, Sherrie Smith, Director of Gypsies and Travellers Essex
“Gypsies and Travellers across Essex and beyond welcome this fantastic news. Travelling in modern times is hard enough without these discriminatory injunctions. We are looking forward to a more welcoming environment across Essex. If Essex County Council as they say are looking to improve the welfare and outcomes of Gypsies and Travellers, they should look to establish adequate temporary and permanent site provision.”
Adding to this, Ilinca Diaconescu, Policy Officer at London Gypsy Travellers
“Over the last two years we have been working to challenge injunction orders granted with great speed, which create a domino effect of excluding Gypsies and Travellers from vast areas of London and other parts of the country. The Bromley case in which we were able to intervene successfully, advances the recognition and protection of the nomadic way of life in the UK. The judgment sets a high standard for councils seeking injunctions and stresses the need to put in place adequate and safe provision. We are pleased that the Harlow injunction application was withdrawn and we hope this sends a message about the much stricter requirements that councils have to meet when seeking such orders.”
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