A Strong Voice for Croydon Central - Gavin Barwell MP
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Time for tough action against this anti-social group of travellers
09/08/2012 23:09:00


Over the last few months, the same group of travellers has moved from green space to green space across the borough - Shirley Hills, Addington Park, Rowdown Fields, Lloyd Park, South Croydon Rec, Sanderstead Rec, Shirley Oaks and Spring Park Rec to name just those I have been notified about.

Each time, it costs owners of the land (the Council in most cases) money to serve an eviction notice and to clear up the mess they leave behind, which often includes human excrement. On top of that, law-abiding Council Taxpayers feel unable to use the green space in question while the travellers are there. This is unacceptable.

If people want to live an itinerant lifestyle they have every right to do so, but they do not have a right to illegally occupy public land or make everyone else pay the cost of cleaning up after them.

I have spoken to the Council about this on numerous occasions and I am pleased to learn that they are now looking at the possibility of securing an injunction banning this group from the borough altogether. I have also written to Government Ministers to see if councils can be given further powers - for example, at the moment the Council can impound their cars but not their caravans, which would clearly be counter-productive since it would mean they then wouldn't be able to move their caravans off the site in question. If they could impound both, that might act as a serious deterrent.

The bottom line is this anti-social behaviour cannot be allowed to continue.

Comment on this blog


Readers' Comments

On 10/08/2012 01:01:00 Jim wrote:
No doubt the problem will be that their human rights will be breached if we go for the caravans. We'll end up paying for their legal aid in order to pursue the case, as well as compensation when they win. Of course, the rights of Council Taxpayers and people wanting to enjoy green space is secondary.

I'm all for tough action, but the Government must act within the law else we get stung later. Better still if the law can be changed.

On 10/08/2012 18:56:00 Tony Martin wrote:
Impounding their caravans would help but if the police and the councils, just upheld the law, with them like they would with everyone else, it would make it a lot harder for them to make other people’s lives a misery.

Also while impounding their cars might seem counterproductive. They can pay for the cars to be released, pay for a permit to take them back onto council land, to remove their caravans and then leave. If they keep doing it, keep impounding their cars.

Here is an older story of relevance http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2042413/Northants-police-refuse-recover-stolen-van-traveller-site.html.

On 14/08/2012 14:24:00 Steven Downes wrote:
There are two issues which you fail to address in this piece:

1, The travellers have to have somewhere to set up camp. Any injunction would only make this group of travellers someone else's problem, unless or until some proper campsites are arranged.

2, The travellers would never be able to camp on council-run parks if the council did its job properly in securing these open spaces to prevent vehicle access. In at least one of the cases you cite above, this was not the case, thereby allowing the travellers to park their caravans on the park for a week or so.

On 15/08/2012 07:38:00 Gavin Barwell wrote:

There is a Council-owned site in Croydon.

I can't believe you are suggesting that we should fence off all our parks and open spaces - it would cost a fortune and significantly reduce access for the law-abiding majority. Typical though, that you choose to blame the Council, not those behaving anti-socially.

On 28/08/2012 20:56:00 John burtenshaw wrote:
It is time for positive action against the travellers. They leave rubbish and excrement on the sites they use. Theft in the local area rises - indeed they attempted to steal builders tools from my property whilst a new drive in was being constructed . Yesterday I was threatened by one traveller whilst I was driving in Sumner Road. They drive around stealing using untaxed and probably uninsured vehicles often registered in Eire. The local pub had to lock its doors as they refuse to leave when time is called.

When are the politicians going to take action against these criminals who do not pay tax or contribute to society apart from disrupting it and stealing from it? Let us see some action.

On 29/08/2012 18:24:00 Narinder Sareen wrote:
Yes,I wholeheartedly agree with you. I was intending to send an e-mail regarding the matter as I was very upset to see their caravans parked in the lovely Lloyds Park, where I walk all summer. Thank you for taking the action. Let's hope they are banned for ever.
On 30/08/2012 11:35:00 Chris wrote:
What about our rights too? This is the unacceptable face of Britain today where the rights of those acting in an anti-social or criminal way are put above those of people whose life or property they damage.
On 02/05/2013 12:54:00 Richard King wrote:
Unfortunately despite the efforts of Croydon Council of installing bunds, gates etc on the South Croydon Recreation park, this morning the travellers had returned meaning once again the residents cannot enjoy this park and will no doubt be left with a lot of litter and other disgusting things like those left during their previous visits. It really is time something is done to stop these people. Why should we the tax payers have to keep paying to evict these people and to clean up after them?



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