COURT action has started to evict an unauthorised travellers camp at Gorse Covert, Warrington.
The current encampment arrived on the council-owned land last week, just 36 days after previously being evicted from the public land near residential properties.
Warrington Borough Council leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, who represents the area and has now directed the installation of wooden bollards to prevent further encampments, today provided an update saying:”I reported it to the Cheshire & Warrington liaison team on the back of residents informing me and the normal legal process was initiated.
“The Council always has to act within the requirements of the law, principally the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPOA). There is no alternative, no matter how we feel about the law and the process. That is a matter for Parliament, not the Council. You should contact your MP if you wish to see the law amended.
“After the initial welfare checks and in line with the legal process, the group were given a Section 77 CJPOA notice to vacate the site by Saturday.
“They didn’t act in accordance with the notice and hence the Council is in court this morning (Thursday 14th) seeking a Section 78 CJPOA eviction order. If this is granted, then they will be required to leave tomorrow (Friday). This order prevents the group returning within 3 months. It does not, however, prevent the group going elsewhere in Birchwood or a different group arriving at the same site.
“As usual, a full clean-up of the site will be conducted after they have left. Yesterday, I got WBC to collect some of the rubbish at the site and they will do that again today ahead of the site being vacated.
“This is the second time in a matter of weeks that this area has had an unauthorised encampment. It is possible that it will become known as a site within the traveller community. As a consequence, yesterday I directed the installation of wooden bollards around the perimeter to prevent further encampments. This is an extraordinary step and the work will be done promptly following vacation of the site. I am grateful to Cllr David Ellis for his support in this action.
“Part of the appeal of Birchwood is the open green spaces – that is one of the features that we all love about our area. It is clear that wooden bollards are not in keeping with that ‘street scene’ and so these will be removed when a travellers transit site is operational in Warrington.
“I note that there are reports of a serious incident in the area last night. The Council has been in contact with Cheshire Police who state that they have had no reports to that effect. It is imperative that this is reported so that it can be investigated and those responsible are dealt with.”