Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Thurrock Conservatives demand "Time for pussyfooting is over" on unauthorised traveller encampments

THURROCK’S Conservative Leader Rob Gledhill is calling for immediate action following Harlow Council’s success at the High Court in banning unlawful traveller encampments on land they own.

Rob said "Earlier this year I proposed that Thurrock Council take similar action to Harlow and Essex in applying for an injunction banning anyone from unlawfully pitching up on Council-owned land. This was unanimously supported but, despite further encampments in the 9 months since then, no action has been taken to move this forward. Wednesday’s court ruling in favour of Harlow now removes all barriers to taking action and I have asked the Council’s Chief Executive to ensure that the process to obtain a similar injunction starts without further delay."

Harlow and Essex Councils were granted an injunction, for the next 18 months, preventing anyone from setting up camp on over 350 named areas of land in their borough. This year there have been over 50 unauthorised encampments in Thurrock – the largest being over 100 caravans setting up camp in Belhus after damaging fencing to gain access to fields

The Conservative Group Leader added "9 months is too long for the will of Council to be enacted – the time for pussyfooting on this issue is over and there is now no excuse for inaction. However, a sensible conversation about traveller provision needs to be had in Thurrock and across the whole of Essex. These discussions should not be limited to what can be done by individual Councils but also include what the private sector can provide. Currently Thurrock Council is losing too many planning appeals with the independent planning inspector saying we have too little traveller provision; there are too many ‘tolerated sites’ where planning permission needs to be either granted or refused and too many pitches not correctly registered for Council Tax. The longer we delay the more it will impact on all Thurrock residents and taxpayers as we lose precious greenbelt and money that could be spent on supplying services."


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