Over the Christmas period many of our community will have been aware of the illegal encampment of the traveling community on the Hampton Road car park adjacent to Warwick racecourse causing significant problems and concern to residents and businesses.
As soon as the situation transpired actions were put in place locally with both the operators of the land (Warwick Racing Club), local district councillors, Warwick District Council services and the police to minimise any impact.
The first stage was to apply to the courts for a removal order to move the travellers on, the second stage was to place mobile toilets and waste disposal facilities to minimise the impact on the local community and ultimately to reduce the “Clear up costs” following their departure once the travellers left the illegal camp.
Local councillors and particularly Cllr Martin Ashford worked tirelessly over the Christmas holiday period liaising and working with a multitude of agencies and local businesses to minimise the overall effect and disruption whilst at the same time planning the clean up operation once they had departed.
There were several incidents of both criminal and anti-social behaviour during this period and where possible actions were taken to deal with the issues.
Following the total departure of the travellers the clean-up was instigated immediately by WDC and below are several photographs showing the condition and mess left by the travellers. In addition to this an immediate plan was put in place to install ground post barriers to provide a significant barrier to discourage and prevent future encampments.
Regretfully the law with regards to evicting illegal encampments is not as strong as we would wish it to be however the prompt actions by all those involved minimised the time the travellers were in place and the developed plans to prevent any return the areas affected were quickly expedited and completed.
It’s worth noting that this kind of illegal encampment is both expensive and time consuming to deal with and in this case the costs amounted to around £ 36,000 and this does not consider the time officers, councillors and multi-agency staff had to spend on keeping matters under control.
In terms of the local tax payer, over £6000 was spent on cleaning up, this is money from our own services which is both unfair and unjust.
The law currently is inadequate to deal with such situations and you can be assured the Warwick District Council continues to challenge national government to change the law making it easier to deal with such matters.
Hopefully this is the last occurrence but if not, you can be sure that we will act promptly as we have in this case to minimise any impact on our local community.
Warwick District Councillors working for our community.
Following up on the latest events with regards to the WDC HQ plans and following last nights council meeting which Cllr Redford & I both attended we would like to share an update with you.
Please see below a statement from the Leader of Warwick District Council Cllr Andrew Mobbs with regard to our HQ relocation project.
As you may already know the current timetable for the HQ project is for councillors to consider a report on the final decision on whether to proceed with the HQ relocation project at Executive on 28 November and that a subsequent Council meeting will be held on either 19 December or 3 January, to make any final decisions on funding the project.
If you attended the public meeting at the Spa Centre on Monday night, or watched online, you will have heard Councillor Peter Whiting, Finance Portfolio Holder, explain that the role of the 3 members of the Executive who are on the Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Board is to ensure that the project not only delivers our objectives for new offices, a new larger car park and new housing but we get the best possible financial deal for our taxpayers.
At our meeting with officers on Monday, Executive heard that the extremely thorough due diligence process that they are following has not yet been completed, that discussions are still underway with Public Sector Plc to finalise the precise structure of the Stage Two financial and legal agreements and the necessary legal, technical and commercial advice cannot be obtained until this has been fixed.
Rather than ask officers to rush things to bring the report to November Executive at all costs, we decided that the prudent and proper approach is to defer the consideration of the final report by Executive, and we are now aiming for a date in January with a full Council, at a date to be agreed, in February.
I also gave a commitment to local businesses at the breakfast meeting we held on Tuesday, that we will not close the car parks until the car park displacement plan is finalised, has been widely communicated and all the practical support arrangements like new signage and Rangers on the ground to direct people to alternative parking are in place.
As the consequence of deferring the report will be that Covent Garden car park is now more likely to close in March 2019 than at the end of January, this allows us time to ensure we have completed the work at the new car parks we are creating and have communicated widely and effectively on all the alternative parking options available to shoppers, visitors and commuters. To that end I am pleased to advise that we are commissioning a local marketing business to assist us in getting the message out that Leamington will firmly remain “Open for Business” throughout the closure period and remains the vibrant and exciting destination that we all know it is.
You will also be aware that a motion was put forward at last night’s meeting of Full Council by Councillor Quinney (Labour) and Councillor Gallagher (Independent) “That Council recommends to Executive that it defers taking final decisions on the Council Offices Relocation project to proceed to phase 2, And seeks public approval at a District-wide referendum to be held on May 2nd 2019.” This motion was debated at length during the meeting but on being put to the vote was not supported and therefore will not be taken forward.
Leader, Warwick District Council
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All blogs are written or edited by Cllr Pam Redford & Cllr Trevor Wright