BROMSGROVE Council is being urged to consider applying for a High Court injunction to prevent travellers from being able to set up camps anywhere in the district.
In the last few weeks, there have been illegal encampments in Lickey End, Stoke Heath and in Alvechurch, leading to MP Sajid Javid approaching ministers about the recurring problem.
Mr Javid said ‘enough was enough’ and something more long-term needed to be done to protect the district.
A precedent was sent in March when Harlow Council and Essex County Council secured a landmark ruling to ban illegal encampments across the entire town. Anyone found camping illegally on over 300 identified vulnerable sites can now be fined or imprisoned for contempt of court.
An injunction has already been placed on land at Buntsford Drive, following repeated traveller intrusions on that site. Then, when travellers tried to settle there, the police were able to evict them within the hour.
A High Court injunction, Mr Javid said, would enable this level of response across multiple Bromsgrove sites.
Mr Javid, who feels intentional trespass should be made illegal, said every year, costly damages and disturbance was incurred as travellers settled on vulnerable sites around Bromsgrove district.
“I have held public meetings, spoken in the House of Commons and lobbied ministers to press this as a national issue, and I am pleased it is something Government is giving serious consideration to.
“Bromsgrove District Council and West Mercia Police have been doing a fantastic job, but I think we must consider taking bolder steps – enough is enough.
“Bromsgrove needs to make the most of legal measures available to us.
“Working with the council I have asked them to consider applying for a district-wide injunction to bring a lasting resolution for residents and business owners who are rightly fed up of this repeated cycle of damaging and in some cases threatening incursions’.”
A Bromsgrove District Council said the authority had recently been approached by West Mercia Police to consider whether a ‘blanket’ Injunction would be appropriate.
“The police have suggested lawyers and council representatives meet with police lawyers and officers to explore this possibility, as there are many aspects to getting an Injunction that will need to be sorted out before an application would be made to the High Court, including any proposed terms, cost, enforcement and where and against whom an injunction would be sought.
“The discussions between the council and WMP around the use of their respective powers will determine the best approach to be taken to address the generally seasonal nature of traveller incursions in the town, including the possibility of an injunction.”
Coun Kit Taylor, whose portfolio covers planning, said the police used powers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to move the recent two encampments on.
“We do everything within our powers to ensure our residents are safeguarded and this is down to the hard work of our officers who work with the police, public and parish councils,” he added.