Travellers remain on Paignton Green

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Travellers remain on Paignton Green after arriving at the weekend.

A number of caravans and vans are currently on the green next to Paignton beach.

Torbay Council are aware of the situation, stating they have to “follow guidance set by Government and we are doing this as quickly as we can,”

Travellers on the green

Torbay Council posted on Facebook yesterday: “Some of you may have noticed the travellers who are currently on Paignton Green. We understand that these encampments can be extremely frustrating for those living in the area, however, we have to follow guidance set by Government and we are doing this as quickly as we can.

“Our officers have visited and discussed their intentions. Welfare checks have been arranged and they have been advised on a code of conduct on issues such as refuse disposal and the permitted use of nearby facilities such as water supplies. An officer to advise on the children’s educations needs has visited the site and a health visitor will be attending today. Following these welfare visits a decision will be made on the next steps which includes going to the County Court to obtain a permission order to remove them from the land.

“This process has strict legislation and guidelines that all local authorities have to follow. Failure by us to follow these means we could be subjected to heavy fines.

“To see the full process we have to go through, and also to report any unauthorised encampments you see, visit www.torbay.gov.uk/encampments

“We would like to reassure everyone that we are trying to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.”

The travellers have currently been on the land for 6 days.

The process that Torbay Council will follow is as below, this information is as per Torbay Council website:

Day 1 – Unauthorised encampment starts
Day 1 to 3 – Visit the site
This will be done as soon as possible (dependant on day/time of arrival) by appropriate officers and they will find out how long the groups are hoping to stay and why they are here.

Day 2 to 7 – Assess any legal needs of the travellers
We advises partner agencies of the encampment and requests the attendance of health visitors and where appropriate, the education welfare officers to make an assessment. These partners endeavour to respond within 3 working days of a request, subject to their availability. The outcome of these assessments will subsequently determine the appropriate course of action to be taken by us.

Before taking any action to evict an unauthorised encampment, we have an obligation to carry out welfare assessments of the unauthorised campers. We must consider whether these enquiries have revealed circumstances which warrant further examination or lead to the conclusion that the eviction should be postponed.

Other considerations in managing such an encampment will include one of toleration, relevant case law, the Humans Rights Act and the best interest of the child which are mandated as a primary consideration.

Day 7 – Hold a review meeting
We liaise with agencies including the Police, Health service and other departments who have an interest in the land to determine the most appropriate course of action. This includes the location and nature of the land to which the unauthorised encampment is situated, any impact on the settled community; the needs of those present on site, in particular the presence of any children; any health and welfare needs, the size of the encampment and whether actual anti-social behaviour or criminality has been associated with it.

The Government guidance requires us to exercise some tolerance to such encampments and make decisions based on all available information.

Day 7 to 8 – Apply to the Court
If the decision is made to seek possession of the land, we generally use Part 55 of the Civil Procedure Rules (“proceedings”). In doing so, we obtain a hearing date from the Court and are required to give 48 hours notice to the occupants of the land between service of proceedings and the Court hearing date.

Where there are threats of assault, actual damage or associated anti-social behaviour by those occupying the land, or the land occupied is of a particularly sensitive nature, it may be possible for us to ask the Court to use their general powers of case management and shorten the required 48 hour required notice period. Where this is appropriate, we could obtain possession of the land on the same date that the proceedings are issued. However, it is important to note that this does not generally reduce the time period significantly.

If we fail to follow its statutory and procedural obligations, this may result in an application being refused and delay any subsequent possession being granted.

Day 10 to 11 – Attend the Court hearing
We will obtain the Possession Order and serve on the Unauthorised Encampment.

Day 11 to 12 – Encampment remains
If the unauthorised encampment remains we will return to Court to issue a Warrant of Possession.

Day 14 – Enforcement
Where a possession order has been granted and the unauthorised encampment refuses to vacate the land, the Council will seek enforcement of that Court order using County Court Bailiffs.

[Information from http://www.torbay.gov.uk/gypsiesandtravellers]

 

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