Travelling families arrive on land next to School
TRAVELLERS who have set up home on a field near a Uttoxeter school could be moved on by a court order.
The presence of Travellers at Mount Pleasant in Stone Road, Uttoxeter was reported to Staffordshire Police and East Staffordshire Borough Council on Monday 10th July.
The group arrived at around 5.25pm and set up camp on a field next to Oldfields Hall Middle School.
Police have visited the families as a matter of standard procedure.
Initially, they were responding to reports the field was being broken into, but as the gate to the land was not locked, the matter was handed over to the land owner of the site, which is Staffordshire County Council.
Gill Heath, cabinet member for communities at the county council said: “We are aware of the travelling families who have parked up at the Mount Pleasant site off Stone Road in the town and we have applied for an order from the county court for possession to have them moved on.”
There is one recognised site for Gypsies and Travellers in East Staffordshire at The Haven, Burton upon Trent, although there are other sites available in neighbouring districts, including one at Foston in South Derbyshire.
The Government advises that when travellers are not causing a problem, they are able to stay.
In March 2015 the Home Office published an extensive guide on how local authorities, like in this instance Staffordshire County Council, should address dealing with illegal and unauthorised encampments.
There are extensive powers to help authorities remove unauthorised encampments and limit the problems that can be caused for communities by the illegal occupation of land.
When taking action councils have been given strong powers in relation to the possible harm that such developments can cause to local amenities and the local environment; the potential interference with the peaceful enjoyment of neighbouring property; and the need to maintain public order and safety and protect health – for example, by deterring fly-tipping and criminal damage.
A possession order under Part 55 of the Civil Procedure Rules can be obtained by both local authorities and private landowners who need to remove an unauthorised settlement from property including land.
The claim must be issued in a county court which has jurisdiction over the affected land/property.
The ‘ordinary’ possession order may be used regardless of whether the property is a building or open land, and regardless of the type of trespasser.
A possession order may be secured quickly against trespassers (a minimum of two days’ notice before a hearing can take place if the property is non-residential, or five days for residential property), but not as quickly as an interim possession order, and is not backed up by criminal sanctions, unlike the interim possession order.
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