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.
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All blogs are written or edited by Cllr Pam Redford & Cllr Trevor Wright