Harlow Labour slams Tories over traveller injunction statements
News / Sun 9th Apr 2023 at 10:04am
THE Harlow Labour Group has issued a collective statement condemning recent Tory comments on “traveller injunctions”.
The Harlow Labour Group said: “Sadly, the recent articles by Harlow’s MP and the former deputy leader of the council came as no surprise. We are concerned how much more of this deliberately misleading and divisive propaganda we will see as this Conservative government enters it’s death throes. We only hope some of the talk of ‘hope and not hate’ doesn’t fall on deaf ears.
As both the Conservative MP and Cllr know full well, when Labour were in administration at the council it took the difficult decision, faced with plenty of opposition, to put a traveller injunction in place due to a number of issues at the time. When the injunction was coming to an end the council was given compelling legal advice that an extension would not be granted and, therefore, took the decision to not incur the legal fees associated with trying to do so. No doubt if we had pursued it and been unsuccessful the Conservative’s would now be bleating on about us wasting money. Their disingenuous rantings know no bounds.
If getting an injunction is so easy, why in the two years the Conservatives have been in charge of the council have they not sought one?
Harlow Labour group recognises the concerns that residents have about the unlawful traveller encampment in Netteswell plantation, and are pleased that Harlow Council officers have acted swiftly to give notice to quit and have been proactive in supplying bin bags to the travellers to assist in disposal of refuse. However, we will not stir division and hate within our community against anyone and especially not to make cheap and factually incorrect political points.
I am genuinely sorry if residents of Harlow who are of Gypsy Roma Traveller (GRT) heritage, (today is International Romani day) are descendants of asylum seekers or are themselves refugees, have been upset and adversely affected by some of these unpleasant comments from others. Harlow Labour believes in the politics of bringing communities together, we know that this is what our inclusive and welcoming town is all about.
Labour's statement is correct. The Court of Appeal ruled against an injunction on 21 January 2020. Read from paragraph 100 of link supplied, but key statements: "105. In my view, boroughwide injunctions are inherently problematic. They give the Gypsy and Traveller community no room for manoeuvre. They are much more likely to be refused by the court as a result (as happened here). 102. It therefore follows that local authorities must regularly engage with the Gypsy and Traveller community. Through a process of dialogue and communication, and following the copious guidance set out above, it should be possible for the need for this kind of injunction to be avoided altogether." https://caselaw.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ewca/civ/2020/12
I forgot to mention this key statement by the Court of Appeal on 21 January 2020: "100. I consider that there is an inescapable tension between the article 8 rights of the Gypsy and Traveller community (as stated in such clear terms by the European caselaw summarised at paragraphs 44-48 above), and the common law of trespass. The obvious solution is the provision of more designated transit sites for the Gypsy and Traveller community. It is a striking feature of many of the documents that the court was shown that the absence of sufficient transit sites has repeatedly stymied any coherent attempt to deal with this issue. The reality is that, without such sites, unauthorised encampments will continue and attempts to prevent them may very well put the local authorities concerned in breach of the Convention." For the avoidance of doubt Fern Hill Lane is not a transit site, nor are there any transit sites in Essex County, although there are plans in the pipeline.
A transit site would be a good idea with a time limit of how long travellers can stay at any one time. I think Harlow over the years has been very tolerant towards travellers. It is a shame that some ruin it for others and give travellers a bad name. I know over the years several have arrived, stayed for a while and continued on with o problems. Some on the other hand have been a complete and utter nuisance.
We are all individuals regardless of colour or creed ! This discrimination towards an ethnic minority race is disgusting and must stop ! Theres a chronic national shortage of sites while all traditional stopping places have been soaked up for housing Just get on and supply the long overdue sites promised in the caravans site act 1968
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