By Local Democracy Reporter
MEMBERS of Labour and Thurrock Independents have welcomed news that the council is pursuing plans for an injunction against travellers on private and public land.
The opposition parties spoke out after the Conservative administration announced they had taken an application for an injunction preventing unauthorised encampments to the High Court last week.
Jane Pothecary, leader of Thurrock Labour, said: “Thurrock Labour would welcome additional powers for the council to tackle unauthorised encampments, especially when they stop residents using parks and open spaces.
“We will follow the court case with interest.”
Luke Spillman, leader of Thurrock Independents, was critical of the Conservatives and what he called their “soft” approach to travellers.
“The Conservatives previously voted against a motion calling for unlawful incursions to be made a criminal offence,” he said.
“Thankfully, although many years too late, we are seeing some action from the council. We support this action whole heartedly.”
Councillor Rob Gledhill, who leads the council, has called the hearing the first stage of a three-stage process. Two more hearings are expected later in the year.
The Tory leader went on to call the current level of illegal traveller incursions “simply not acceptable” and said he believes it will act as a deterrent.
A plan for a similar injunction was also proposed by the Conservative Party in Southend but the Labour-led alliance that oversees the council voted against.
Their decision was based on legal advice which stated the council will fail to get the injunction without demonstrating that existing powers are not sufficient to deal with the problem. If a council is unsuccessful it could result in a significant loss of taxpayers’ money.