MP Robert Halfon welcomes Council’s swift action to remove unauthorised encampment in Harlow

News / Sun 25th Jun 2023 at 04:31pm

Member of Parliament for Harlow, Robert Halfon, has issued the following statement on the unauthorised encampment at the town park:

“Like many Harlow residents, I am disappointed that Harlow has, yet again, seen the arrival of an unauthorised encampment in the town park overnight. 

“Over many years, I have worked hard to end this awful blight on our town that causes misery for residents. This resulted in an injunction being introduced, but sadly the previous Labour Council did not choose to renew the injunction – which has now allowed such encampments to arrive. 

“I have today spoken with the Leader of the Council, Cllr Dan Swords, and welcome the immediate action the Council has taken to ensure this unauthorised encampment leaves without delay.

“Last year, I voted in Parliament for new and tougher powers to clamp down on the unauthorised encampments. These laws have:

  1. Created a criminal offence targeting trespassers who intend to reside on any private or public land in vehicles without permission, and where they are causing significant disruption, distress or harm to local communities. 
  2. Imposed penalties, including imprisonment and fines of up to £2,500, for those who do not remove vehicles and leave land when asked to do so. 
  3. Toughened existing police powers to ensure trespassers leave land and do not return. Police have the power to seize vehicles and arrest offenders who return to such encampments after being moved on.

“These new powers come at a time when Essex Police is bigger than ever before, with 395 new officers across the county and 30 in Harlow.

“I will work hard with Harlow Council and the local police to ensure this latest unauthorised encampment is closed down and moved on as quickly as possible with minimal disruption to local people.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

23 Comments for MP Robert Halfon welcomes Council’s swift action to remove unauthorised encampment in Harlow:

2023-06-25 16:47:28

No injunction😠😠😠

Alderman Durcan
2023-06-25 16:56:10

It’s a real shame but no surprise that yet again the Tory MP makes up history to suit himself. The fact is the council was told by the courts not to reapply for the injunction as it would be refused. Why waste public money…. Just classic Tory spin Shame his mates at County council can’t sort out paid temporary sites.

Cllr James Griggs
2023-06-25 17:12:02

Outrageous and misleading comments from Halfon, he really is a disgrace and should know so much better than to be playing this racist politics. He knows full well that the injunction expired and that legal advice was that it wouldn’t be renewed by the courts so the Labour administration didn’t waste taxpayers money in pursuing it. He knows this is the truth but he’snever let that get in the way of his self promoting misdirections before have he?? If it’s so easy to get an injunction why have his mates at HDC not get a new one? They’ve had two years to do so! Halfon a disgrace, peddling mistruths from the Johnson playbook. Shame on him! 🤬

2023-06-25 17:13:31

Blatant lie by Halfon ref the injunction. Has obviously been picking up tips from Boris 'the liar' Johnson.

Toni Jones
2023-06-25 17:31:55

I am disappointed in Robert Halfon after reading the previous comments. I thought he was a man of honour, but maybe he’s not as honourable as I had thought. 😢

2023-06-25 18:30:31

It is true that the original injunction lapsed under the previous administration and that it is understood that legal advice sought at the time indicated that a renewal might be obtained. Whilst Councillors Durcan and Griggs focus their entire attack on Harlow's MP even making the absurd and scurrilous accusation he is playing 'rascist politics'. Perhaps Cllr Griggs should acquaint himself more thoroughly with current laws. In the past two years, the town has suffered from 3 illegal encampments: Tendring Road, Netteswell Plantation and, now the Town Park. It is highly noticeable that on no occasion has any Labour councillor - particularly those supposedly representing the affected wards of Toddbrook and Netteswell - condemned these illegal encampments nor uttered any support for this Council's efforts to have them removed swiftly. Their indifference and apathy towards this illegality is what is truly shameful. Harlow residents can be assured that this Council will not sit by tolerating this unlawful blight on our town.

2023-06-25 18:32:33

I omitted to state in the first sentence : ....might not be obtained...

Kim Oconnor
2023-06-25 19:00:03

James, where are they to go.?? I don't like putting people in box's, there's good and bad in everyone. Traveler's have no where to go any more.. we have had traveler's for centuries, there part of our history, I love to see the pony and trap going down the cycle track, lovely site, and have all ways been polite . Perhaps consider a site they can actually go on..

Iain Lindsay
2023-06-25 19:04:37

I can't comment.

keeley stringer
2023-06-25 19:29:01

can't see the problem , think we have a lot more crap going on in this world to worry about a few caravans pitching up 🤔

2023-06-25 19:33:42

Kim O'Connor your bucolic image has very little resemblance to reality. Having been informed of the tirade of abuse and expletives delivered to Council Officers undertaking their duties today in serving notice on these trespassers, I am only surprised that the police did use their powers more forcefully. Harlow Council has announced a zero tolerance policy in respect of unlawful encampments within its limited district. That meets with the wishes of most of our residents. We need to set a strong and clear message. In law, these people are trespassing. The law takes precedence and as a Council we will fulfil our duty to the residents of this town to stop this unacceptable abuse.

Kim Oconnor
2023-06-25 19:54:04

Wow, just wow. Well they have all ways been polite to me,, just saying.. May be if there was somewhere for them to go,, this problem wouldn't keep occurring... Just saying.

Cameron mead
2023-06-25 19:57:13

More shit and bog roll in the bushes for someone to clear up. And school holidays approaching, move them to sainsbury car park at least they can dump in there toilets ,

Cllr James Griggs
2023-06-25 20:02:17

Cllr James Leppard, I’m happy to support the work of the Police and the Community Safety Team in engaging with travellers in seeking to resolve the situation swiftly and peacefully. What I will not do is tolerate blatant lies and inflammatory language from someone who really should know better, our MP. He implies that it was his hard work that brought about the previous injunction. Another misleading comment. That was the work of the Labour administration he now blames for not wasting money in seeking a renewal of the injunction after receiving compelling legal advice that it would not be granted. Travellers are human beings who deserve safe and clean sites to use when travelling through the area. The failure to provide these sites in adequate numbers is the reason for the current situation. If Halfon wants to use the disgraced Trumpian/Johnsonian playbook methods to make his point it only serves to demonstrate that he has nothing useful or decent to say on the matter. On another matter, I see you are only using the name James on comments rather than fully identifying yourself in order that the electorate may judge you too. Prior to the May elections I wrote to all party leaders in the town seeking an assurance that all Councillors and Candidates would fully identify themselves in all communications. I received that assurance from all except Harlow Conservative Party. Why is that? What have you got to hide? What is it you’re ashamed of?

Godfrey the great
2023-06-25 20:36:16

Nice to see the usual too and fro from politicians lol ...being the labour council quite happily sold Harlow down the toilet for god knows how many years they quite frankly should shut up lol as for the illegal encampments ... Shouldn't be allowed full stop should be moved on its their right to live how they chose allso other people's right not to put up with that choice . Can't have it both ways .

2023-06-25 20:46:46


Iain Lindsay
2023-06-25 21:10:57

The usual hand-wringing from the irksome Mr Griggs.

Councillor James Leppard, Harlow Common Ward, Portfolio Holder for Finance & Governance
2023-06-25 21:23:20

James Griggs, I pointed out that the previous administration received legal advice that a renewal of the injunction might not have been forthcoming. Your insinuation that Robert Halfon's comments constitute 'racism' would be an outrage in normal circumstances but coming from a Labour party that the independent Equality and Human Rights Commission found guilty of blatant racist antisemitism and unlawful acts of discrimination and harassment, it is laughable. Talk about hypocrisy. You and your colleagues have never shown any initiative in seeking the lawful and speedy removal of these unwelcome encampments even in your own wards. No doubt the electorate will take note of your quasi complicity in this matter. P.S. Normally prefer brevity to excess, but at your request, signed in full. Nothing to hide. 😉

2023-06-25 21:37:07

I’m with you Kim O’Connor. There is good and bad in everyone. I hate the fact everything gets aimed at travelers, Like Kim said give them somewhere to stay! Even if it’s for a certain amount of time, Instead of building more pointless flats. Now everyone is going to blame the travelers for crime, rubbish etc. which is totally unfair. when the town is shocking with assaults, knives, stabbing. Rubbish already. Sure the boy that got beat up other day I witnessed or the same person who beat the boy up smashing someone’s car up who yet again got away with both. isnt that more important than travelers passing through town.

2023-06-25 22:02:44

@ Kim, your are so right. They have been a part of our culture for centuries. Live and let live I say. Nothing screams tradition more than a Shetland pony tied to a roundabout or the sight child doing a sh!7 on a cycle path. Just normal human beings like the rest of us.

Kim Oconnor
2023-06-26 08:36:03

REG, as I said, there's good and bad in everyone, we should not put people in box's... Everyone has the right to roam, it's in our law.. infact more and more people are living this way, and I mean not just travellers. What's going to happen if places are not going to be provided for them... exactly this..

2023-06-26 11:19:30

Well so much for'speedy intervention' as of 1215pm today 26/7 the travellers are still there.

David Forman
2023-06-26 21:12:40

Harlow Council joined with Bromley Council's appeal for a borough-wide Traveller injunction as the Fourth Intervener at the Court of Appeal in December 2019. The court's judgement on 21 January 2020 rejected Bromley Council's appeal. Barrister Caroline Bolton represented Harlow Council and here is a short extract from her legal summary of the case: "The simple fact that unauthorised encampments occur within an administrative area will not in itself justify seeking a borough-wide order, or, a de facto borough wide order. There is a positive obligation to facilitate the travellers way of life, and the evidence will need to be significant to demonstrate that the interference with the travellers article 8 rights is proportionate;" See Bolton's legal summary at: https://radcliffechambers.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Caroline-Bolton-London-Borough-of-Bromley-v-Persons-Unknown-and-Ors.pdf?_gl=1*op0uw5*_up*MQ..*_ga*MTQ0NjUxNDk4OS4xNjg3ODEyMjA4*_ga_47RKWK8KKZ*MTY4NzgxMjIwNy4xLjEuMTY4NzgxMjIwNy4wLjAuMA..

Leave a Comment Below:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *