Yesterday I asked a question to Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government about the travellers that recently came to Croydon.
I blogged about it at the time, and you can read that here. Below is my question and the Secretary of State's response.
Gavin Barwell (Croydon Central, Conservative):
What steps he is taking to help local authorities tackle illegal encampments?
Eric Pickles (Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government; Brentwood and Ongar, Conservative):
Councils and the police have a range of strong powers to take action against illegal encampments and unauthorised development. We recently reminded councils of the extensive powers at their disposal to deal with the problems swiftly.
Over the summer, a group of Travellers moved back and forth between several sites in Croydon, costing council tax payers and private landowners thousands of pounds. What else can the Government do to help councils tackle that antisocial behaviour, and in particular, will the Minister look at allowing councils to use their byelaws against encampments on private as well as public land?
Significant powers already exist, and the police have powers to deal with people who are causing a public nuisance by consistently making illegal encampments. I draw my hon. Friend’s attention to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which gives the police considerable powers to deal with that. In addition, we are consulting on the introduction of a temporary stop notice with immediate effect, which will put considerable powers in the hands of the local council.