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Havering Council to present injunction to stop travellers to the High Court

PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:20 08 August 2018

Police at the car park where travellers have forced the closure of Tesco at Gallows Corner

Police at the car park where travellers have forced the closure of Tesco at Gallows Corner

Archant

After months of gathering evidence the council is hoping to present an injunction to the High Court at the end of the month.

Travellers have forced the closure of Tesco Extra in RainhamTravellers have forced the closure of Tesco Extra in Rainham

Havering Council is hoping to present an injuction to stop Travellers camping anywhere in the borough to the High Court by the end of the month.

Camps of Travellers have been popping up across the borough for months, with some leaving mountains of rubbish when they move on.

Injunctions are already in place in Redbridge, and Barking and Dagenham and after months and months of gathering evidence the injunction will hopefully give the council powers of immediate removal and groups could be arrested for non-compliance.

Rubbish left by illegal travellers at the Pompadours pub siteRubbish left by illegal travellers at the Pompadours pub site

However this will not stop groups arriving but it will stop Travellers staying for long periods on around 220 sites in Havering.

Hot spots for camps have included the Pompadours pub in Harold Hill, the car park opposite The Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch, Tesco at Gallows Corner and the Tesco Extra in Rainham.

In July newly-released data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government showed that, in January this year, there were 137 Gypsy, Roma and Traveller caravans in Havering, an increase of 22pc since 2015.

Police at the car park where travellers previously forced the closure of Tesco at Gallows Corner in April 2018.Police at the car park where travellers previously forced the closure of Tesco at Gallows Corner in April 2018.

Councillor Jan Sargent told the Recorder: “We are progressing well with the injunction and hope to present it to the High Court by end of August.

“This will then give us an interim injunction and we will then need to place notices on around 220 sites around the Borough before proceeding to a full injunction.

“The injunction will not stop them arriving but will give powers of immediate removal and they could be arrested for non-compliance.

Travellers outside of The Pompadours pub in Harold HillTravellers outside of The Pompadours pub in Harold Hill

“It Is taking up a lot of our time but we are all hopeful that it will prove successful.”

Cllr Sargent, from the Gooshays ward, has been dealing with the rubbish that was left by Travellers at the Pompadours pub, and said: “This is really good news.

“It will mean that we will have more power over stopping Travellers from coming into the borough.

“From the neighbourhoods meeting last night (Monday, August 6) what I understand is that word spreads between the different groups, and once they know that the injunction is in place then they stop coming to the borough.”

Councillor Clarence Barrett told the Recorder: “Given the regular traveller incursions into our borough and the inevitable mountain of fly-tipped rubbish and debris left behind, we should be doing all within the powers available to tackle this scourge.

“A tactic that has proved successful elsewhere in the country is the use of an injunction against unauthorised camps and named persons from setting up such encampments across sites on a borough wide basis.

“The injunction allows the authority to move encampments on within 24 hours, as opposed to the five or six days it normally takes, while a breach of the injunction is contempt of court and punishable by a term of imprisonment.

“It has emerged that, along with many councils elsewhere in the country, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham, Enfield and Essex County Council all have injunctions in place, in fact we are surrounded by such councils – so why haven’t Havering?

“No wonder the traveller community targets our borough, as we must seem a soft touch compared with our neighbours.

“Obtaining an injunction order is a priority for the Residents’ Association and readers can be sure we are pushing for these powers.”

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