Council says court orders should last months
Exeter City Council has spent 20 thousand pounds moving on travellers from its land over the past two years.Although only 17 encampments are involved, it works out at one intervention about every six weeks at a cost of just over a thousand pounds every time.
A report by a surveyor of council property says in addition to the financial cost, travellers camps cause distress to neighbours, especially in the summer.
The council’s been responding to a government consultation - and suggests that once a court order is granted, it should protect a site for some months, to stop others using the same land.
There has been 17 encampments across eight locations in Devon, lasting for a total of 118 days and consisting of 106 caravans. A total of £19,716.43 was spent on moving the travellers on.
The council, in a response to a government consultation, have also suggested that court orders, once granted, should protect sites for a number of months to prevent multiple reoccupation and that unauthorised encampments should be criminalised where there was “deemed aggravated trespass” in order to gain access.
Councillor Cynthia Thompson says: “Travellers often come on a Friday evening when offices are closed, so until Monday, we cannot do anything about them, but we get lots of calls over the weekend about them.
“There has been anti-social behaviour and intimidation, but residents are confused as to what is a police matter. The barrier at Station Road in Pinhoe was sheared off with a metal tool, but the response from the police was ‘did anyone see it?’ Residents do not know who will deal with these issues when they happen.”