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General => General Discussion => Topic started by: Admin on July 21, 2014, 02:17:04 PM

 



Title: Traveller incursion
Post by: Admin on July 21, 2014, 02:17:04 PM
Some readers will know that a group of (rather upmarket) traveller vans colonised the commons area where Longmead intersects with Weston Green Road (the former animal pound for Weston manor) on Friday.  This followed an attempt to camp by Milbourne Pond when a resident asked them to move on and was abused.   About  a dozen vehicles are now there, already surrounded by litter, and some of the occupants have apparently been doing gardening work in the vicinity.  At least some of them are apparently of Irish origin.

Councillors were on the case immediately and EBC's Leisure and countryside team and police are expected to secure the end of this illegal occupation imminently, indeed the same team who secured the successful removal of travellers the last time they illegally occupied Weston Green itself, in February 2012.

Residents will wish to note the travellers' presence and maintain due vigilance.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Admin on July 22, 2014, 08:15:37 AM
Edit:  I gather that there is unlikely to be movement before tomorrow, Wednesday, when there should be a date for a court hearing.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on July 23, 2014, 11:57:32 AM
Any news?


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cuboid on July 24, 2014, 07:44:42 AM
Still 3/4 caravans remain as of this morning. They look as though they have had a lovely time by the amount of rubbish they have generated and is strewn all across the ground. Table and chairs outside each caravan so they have clearly been partaking in some alfresco dining in these balmy evenings, also kids toys and bikes litter the ground - looks all very civilsed like a scene from a french campsite. Should they ever leave (and why would you as the toothless council and police are no threats to these people!) then no doubt they will be back again and probably bring more of their friends once word spreads about this lovely idyllic spot they have found. Here for the long run I am afraid. 



Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on July 24, 2014, 09:30:20 AM
Thanks. Maybe the council could provide some bins whilst they organise/negotiate them leaving?


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Evergreen on July 24, 2014, 09:57:26 AM
Quote from: Deborah on July 24, 2014, 09:30:20 AM
Thanks. Maybe the council could provide some bins whilst they organise/negotiate them leaving?

I think that would encourage them to think they might be winning, and the mess helps strengthen the case for getting rid of them!

I guess that the council will have tried persuasion which worked last time but if unsuccessful they have to go down the long route of court orders and enforcement of them.

I thought the Conservatives were going to outlaw squatting and this is really squatting.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cuboid on July 24, 2014, 11:28:14 AM
Dont make me laugh - you cannot negotiate with these people. I can picture it now some wet behind the ears civil servant politely tapping on the caravan door "Please Mr Traveller would you mind awfully moving along" cue the verbal volley of profanities followed by an invitation to rearrange your facial features!!


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on July 24, 2014, 05:19:13 PM
If you live in Longmead Rd I think the litter bins are preferable.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Evergreen on July 25, 2014, 08:02:58 AM
Quote from: Cuboid on July 24, 2014, 11:28:14 AM
Dont make me laugh - you cannot negotiate with these people. I can picture it now some wet behind the ears civil servant politely tapping on the caravan door "Please Mr Traveller would you mind awfully moving along" cue the verbal volley of profanities followed by an invitation to rearrange your facial features!!

And acting within the law, your dry-eared solution would be?.......


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: craigvmax on July 25, 2014, 11:07:36 AM
I think that's the problem, there isn't a quick short term solution and they know this and exploit it.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on July 25, 2014, 11:19:23 AM
In order to evict travellers from a site the landowner (in this case Elmbridge Borough Council) have to apply to the County Court for a hearing that will give them a "Possession Order". The date of the hearing is completely dependent on the availability of the Court. A senior officer at EBC, who has much experience of dealing with traveller incursions, together with EBC's Legal Division, began working on this problem on Monday 21st July - the travellers having arrived on site on the previous Friday evening.  It appears that travellers like to occupy 'new' sites on Fridays as they are aware that little can be done until after the week-end!
EBC have been given the date of Friday 1st August for the hearing and consequently they served notice on the travellers yesterday.
Residents will have noticed that approx. 8 vans/caravans have already moved and there appears to be about 4 left.  It could well be that  they decide to move on today - being a Friday!  Should that not happen they will have to move when EBC obtain their 'Possession Order' next Friday.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: craigvmax on July 25, 2014, 10:49:51 PM
Thank you for the update Tania


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on July 28, 2014, 07:35:22 AM
Thanks Tannia. Just got back from holiday and delighted to see a nice, clean tidy site.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 01, 2014, 06:01:18 PM
I thought that residents might appreciate an up-date.  Elmbridge Borough Council Officers attended the County Court earlier today and obtained the Possession Order.  It has now been served on the travellers.

The County Sheriff will check the site on Monday and, if the travellers are still on the site, they will be evicted... together with their possessions.

Let us hope that they leave this evening - I'm told that that is what usually happens. I know they were still there at 2 30pm when I checked the site but the Order had not been served at that stage.

EBC will carry out the clean-up operation as soon as the site is clear.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on August 02, 2014, 11:20:22 PM
Thanks Tannia. Still there this evening when I passed.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Montreux on August 03, 2014, 07:23:13 PM
Left circa 6.45pm


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cllr Ruth Bruce on August 04, 2014, 08:22:17 AM
I am glad to say that when I checked this morning at 7.45am (Monday 4th August) the travellers do indeed appear to have all moved on.

This was expected following the serving of the court order on Friday afternoon (1st August) obtained from the court the same day.

There has been much work by a number of people to achieve this outcome, ever since they turned up out of the blue on Friday 18th July.

This is the usual pattern of things and, as I am sure people realise, legal matters have to run their course but sometimes this can seem frustratingly slow.

The clean up operation will now take over, and a review of how this area may be made less vulnerable in the future.







Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on August 04, 2014, 10:42:09 AM
I live on Longmead Rd and was virtually unaware of their presence. I was also pleased to see that the site was kept clean. Thank you to the council for supplying the bin. (I have also wondered whether the council supplied the toilet facilities across the road). From what I can see there is not much tidying up to do. Although I don't want a camp site at the end of my road, I do find myself empathising with the travellers situation.

I do hope when the council do their review, that they don't decide to fence the area of like they have at the back of the flats in Longmead Rd. This was done after a traveller kept their horse on there for 2 days.  This has caused a much greater menace to the local neighbourhood than the imagined menace from a few traveller families. One of the reasons I moved to Thames Ditton in the first place was the availability of open spaces. Should further areas be closed of I  will be reconsidering where I live.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 05, 2014, 10:53:23 AM
Yes, the council did provide bins and I'm pleased to report that some of the travellers did use them.  They were overflowing after the travellers left... which was good! Unfortunately however, I regret that there was quite a lot of rubbish strewn around  (in the bushes and on the site itself).  Quite a large amount of  green garden waste was also left on the site which also had to be dealt with.

The toilet facilities that you mention were not supplied by the council.  I suspect that the ones to which you refer belong to the builders who are working across the road from the site!

With regard to your thoughts about 'fencing off' the area. This will not be happening.  Last year the council had to deal with a number of traveller incursions in the Borough - it was agreed at that stage that it would not be practical to put bollards up around all our common land.  Elmbridge has hectares of common land and it would be extremely expensive and totally impractical to 'bollard' all our beautiful open spaces.  Some bollards have been put up in the Weston Green Ward to prevent some of the land being eroded by inconsiderate parking and that has proved to be very successful.

I have been asked about the travellers who are now in  Cobbs Green,  Lower Green Road. Cobbs Green is in the Esher Ward.  The council are now going through the same procedure mentioned in earlier postings in order to  move them on.  The Traveller Liaison Officer is in court this morning getting the legal papers lodged.

I hope this is helpful.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on August 05, 2014, 02:03:24 PM
Thanks Tannia. I appreciate the feedback.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: peter on August 07, 2014, 12:55:20 PM
I hear they are back - Lower Green Road - opposite the racecourse.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 07, 2014, 01:23:23 PM

Yes, they're on Cobbs Green (Esher Ward).  See update above.

The County Court have given EBC a hearing date of Friday 15th August in order to obtain a 'Possession Order'.  (See full details of procedure in my updates of 25th July and 1st August).

Tannia Shipley


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: peter on August 07, 2014, 03:13:26 PM
Quote from: Tannia Shipley on August 07, 2014, 01:23:23 PM
Yes, they're on Cobbs Green (Esher Ward).  See update above.

The County Court have given EBC a hearing date of Friday 15th August in order to obtain a 'Possession Order'.  (See full details of procedure in my updates of 25th July and 1st August).

Tannia Shipley

Ahh apologies, hadn't read previous posts. 
This sounds like a time consuming and expensive procedure - why is it not possible for the police to move them on if they are clearly breaking a law?


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 07, 2014, 04:31:38 PM

Following a series of traveller incursions last year EBC worked with the Police and jointly, produced a very detailed protocol for dealing with the problem of traveller incursions.

The protocol considers all the powers that could be available for dealing with incursions.  In most cases however, that Council has to rely on a Court Order to reclaim their land.  In both the recent incursions it was down to the council to prepare the necessary paperwork and apply to the Court for a Possession Order.

You can view the shortened protocol on line - http://www.elmbridge.gov.uk/documents/detail.htm?pk documents=23908

The whole document  (presented to cabinet 16.10.13)  can be  viewed  - http://www.elmbridge.gov.uk/committees/meetings.htm?pk meeting=1557&comid=12

I think I'd probably opt for the shortened version!!

Tannia Shipley


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cuboid on August 12, 2014, 07:20:24 AM
Question Tania - how long do these possession orders last - for example when these travellers are forced to move on from their new location in Esher what is then stopping them moving back to TD and setting up camp once again - is there some sort of mechanism in place to stop them bouncing between the 2 locations??


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 12, 2014, 11:44:32 AM
I think I know the answer but I need to double-check with our Legal Division before responding. 

Tannia


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 12, 2014, 12:35:44 PM

Pleased to report that the Possession Order remains 'live' which means that it can allow further enforcement action on the site, should the travellers return.  Phew!

Tannia


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 14, 2014, 06:22:05 PM
Thursday;  6pm.  Most of the caravans have  just left the site -  heading for the M11.  Don't ask how I know - suffice to say that the Weston Green Grape Vine is extremely active!!

I've checked the site and there are only four caravans left - hopefully they too will leave this evening.

However, a possession order will be obtained from the County Court tomorrow.

I have alerted the council officers as, unfortunately, there is some clearing up to do.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cllr Ruth Bruce on August 18, 2014, 04:42:34 PM
The last remaining caravans moved off on Sunday and the Countryside Officers from Elmbridge were on Cobbs Green this morning making sure all was in order and tidying up although, to be fair, one of the occupants of the site had done a good job of clearing up after some of his 'neighbours' by then.

I am informed that, as far as we can tell, they have moved on from Elmbridge now.

Fingers crossed?



Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: mark.hawkins on August 20, 2014, 08:40:05 PM
Quote from: Tannia Shipley on August 12, 2014, 12:35:44 PM
Pleased to report that the Possession Order remains 'live' which means that it can allow further enforcement action on the site, should the travellers return.   Phew!

Tannia


How long does the order remain live for?  Would it only apply to the set of travelers that invaded that site or the wider traveling community?


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 25, 2014, 11:00:57 AM
Re: Lifespan of Possession Orders

This is obviously a complex issue, and best dealt with by EBC's legal division. For that reason I consulted a Senior Lawyer, whose response was as follows:-

"Although Possession Orders do have a lifespan, practically speaking it would usually be much simpler to start from scratch when travellers return to a site, unless it happened within a matter of weeks.  This because it is necessary to demonstrate that the persons named in an Order are in fact the persons on site at the time.  This is difficult, because, full names are not usually obtained (if at all) and even then, only if volunteered.  Secondly, groups break up and reform, so it is difficult to know who you are dealing with.  It may be possible to surmise who people are by links to their vehicles, but this is not legally reliable, as we cannot say with certainty that they have not been traded in the interim.  It would certainly be out of the question to rely on an Order obtained the previous year".

Hope this helps!
Tannia


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Admin on August 25, 2014, 12:43:34 PM
Thank you again, Tannia.  As with squatting, it seems to me that the law needs modifying.  After all, councils - we residents and taxpayers - are required to designate land for travellers, and do so.  Quid pro quo:  it seems fair and reasonable to stiffen the law elsewhere to make it possible to move on (by force if necessary after a short period of notice) illegal squatters in our green spaces without having to obtain individual orders.

The idea of travelling may have romantic appeal, but the reality of these temporary and often unsavoury landgrabs is obnoxious to most residents.  The ease with which the travellers may circumvent a weak law and time-consuming procedure is verging on the ridiculous.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 25, 2014, 04:25:19 PM

I completely agree but, until there's a change in the law, we have to work within the current legal parameters.

Unfortunately I have just been informed that a group of travellers have just arrived at the Longmead Road site.

I have informed the requisite departments at EBC, including the Legal Division, in order that they can start the process of eviction first thing tomorrow morning.

Tannia


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: rudi on August 25, 2014, 07:21:22 PM
Tannia - you mention that this part of Weston green won't have 'Bollards' constructed to negate this happening again. This incursion will now be in second in very short succession, so if bollarding is not practical who exactly is paying the legal/court costs and the clean up operation every time these people decide to take up FREE temporary residence in our village?


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 25, 2014, 09:37:58 PM

The council looked at the problem last year and decided that fencing off many hectares of  common land was not practical or feasible. However, now that the Longmead site  has proved to be particularly vulnerable it might be prudent to take a look to see if anything could be done to make the area more 'traveller proof'.  I'm not totally convinced about bollarding - it didn't prevent an incursion in Cobbs Green for instance. We think that some of the travellers entered that site via the rear but it became obvious that they were also entering and egressing via the bollarded area too. The bollards on Cobbs Green have now all been reinstated - it will be interesting to see if this prevents any further incursions.  I will speak to the officers to see if they have any suggestions regarding Longmead -  we cannot go on having to cope with this problem on a regular basis.

Tannia


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cuboid on August 26, 2014, 07:43:36 AM
They have also done a lovely job of turning this lovely green patch into a complete and utter mud bath after driving their vehicles over this sodden ground. The ground will need reinstating correctly if we can ever get them to leave!! Even if this area is bollarded off I fear for the other green spaces in the direct vicinity the whole area has become a soft target for this crowd.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Admin on August 26, 2014, 11:24:20 AM
Another thing residents can do to deter this sort of activity is refrain from hiring travellers for cash to do small building works.  Coupled with vigilance and security to gardens and houses, the travellers are more likely to move on if they cannot make easy pickings here.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cllr Ruth Bruce on August 26, 2014, 11:58:28 AM
Council officers are aware and working on this issue as we speak.

The legal process has to be handled correctly to ensure there can be no redress as I am sure all understand.

Ruth B


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 26, 2014, 12:32:26 PM

Cllr Bruce is absolutely correct - the legal process is 'key' and that will be paramount in the Council's response.  The issues are extremely complex - there are so many variables.

I have just spoken to the officer who is dealing with the problem and he assures me that they are working, with the police, to resolve the problem as swiftly as possible.  We will up-date you as soon as we have any further information.

Tannia


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: craigvmax on August 26, 2014, 01:14:33 PM
coincidence that there were a number of burglaries over the weekend?


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: rudi on August 26, 2014, 08:33:36 PM
How parking in the High Street related to land invasions in Weston Green?

In reference to the comment the issues are extremely complex, not sure what the complexities actually are (!) but I'm sure if i parked a caravan and several cars on council land or any private land for that matter, I'm sure the full force of the law would be brought to bear on me - very quickly.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on August 26, 2014, 10:30:30 PM
I live on Longmead Rd and have had no-one knocking on my door selling their services. I do think its rather racist linking burglaries to travellers. Do you have any proof?


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Admin on August 27, 2014, 08:28:35 AM
To keep this thread tidy and on topic I have simply deleted the extraneous posts concerning parking in Station Rd and High St Thames Ditton:  roadrunner is free to put them in the other thread he recently started on the subject.  A reminder to roadrunner that Tannia Shipley is one of our councillors for Weston Green and not Thames Ditton (to which roadrunner's concerns relate) and that highways and on-street parking matters are dealt with by Surrey not Elmbridge.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on August 27, 2014, 10:16:29 AM
This is of topic as well but since burglaries have been mentioned it might help. I have been thinking and remember I was working from home on 15th and 18th August. I had a young man knock on my door (don't remember which day) claiming to be an ex offender, with some sort of ID card (I didn't have my glasses on) selling wares. He alleged he was part of a youth offending scheme. I didn't see any wares. I thought it rather strange that the police were encouraging young people to knock on peoples doors selling (I also have a notice up saying I don't buy at the door).


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on August 27, 2014, 10:17:19 AM
I should have said thank you Tannia for the updates


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 27, 2014, 12:25:46 PM

Pleasure Deborah.  There will be a further update later today - Cllr Bruce and I  are awaiting a response from our Legal Division as to the current position regarding the travellers who are now on the site. A great deal of work was carried out yesterday and this is on-going today.  We should have some news later.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: rudi on August 27, 2014, 12:54:35 PM
I agree - thank you Tannia for your regular and articulate up dates.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: rudi on August 27, 2014, 12:58:17 PM
Deborah - I'm not sure the term 'racist' was really necessary to respond to someones legitimate concerns.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 27, 2014, 05:35:00 PM
As promised there follows an update, provided by the Council, which readers might find helpful.

Following the unauthorised gypsy & traveller camp established at Weston Green on Bank Holiday Monday 25th Aug., the council's Gypsy/Traveller Liaison Officer visited the gypsies and travellers, accompanied by the police, to carry out an assessment of the situation, including a welfare assessment of the individuals present required under the legal protocol for dealing with unauthorised gypsy/traveller sites.  At the time of assessment there were 4 caravans and a motorhome plus several other vehicles on the site, with 9 adults and 20 children on the land. 
This set of travellers were not previously in occupation of the site at Weston Green although some of those present have been on other sites within Elmbridge within the past 3 weeks.  They are therefore unaware of the Court Order for recovery of possession of land at Weston Green granted against another group of gypsies and travellers on 1st August.

The Council lodged papers today at the County Court and a hearing has been fixed for Monday 1st September at which the Council will apply for an Order to repossess the land.
The Council supplied a refuse bin today and the grounds maintenance contractor will carry out site litter clearance where practicable.  The land will be re-instated to its previous good condition and any remaining litter completely cleared when the area is repossessed by the Council.

Cllr Bruce and I have had several conversations with concerned residents regarding protecting of this particular site (Longmead)  against further incursions.  We feel that some interesting and  practical suggestions have been made and we will be discussing these with officers.





Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on August 27, 2014, 10:35:04 PM
Thanks Tannia. I really appreciate the updates as I'm away at the moment. My daughter has been updating me and is paticularly concerned about the mud bath. As you are aware I'm particularly concerned about the possible consequences, and really dont want to see access to common land restricted.

Rudi - By racist I mean one should be careful about making assumptions that travellers are thieves. I'm not aware of any evidence that this is the case.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on August 28, 2014, 05:22:16 PM
I hear more people have now moved onto one of the greens on Longmead Rd. Does this mean having to get a further court order?


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 28, 2014, 07:19:26 PM

I don't think so as there are notices on the site and some on the land opposite.  These notices inform everyone that there is to be a hearing on Monday. However, I will alert the officers that it is thought that there may be additional travellers on the site in case another visit is required.  Officers have already checked the site today as there were concerns that some of the notices had been moved -  they had not.

Rest assured that the Council are very pro-active and giving this matter serious attention.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Ratty on August 28, 2014, 07:39:56 PM
Obviously it is a contentious issue and it is laudable to think the best of people. However, when the first group of travellers arrived there were a number of reports of people of a similar description going door to door offering gardening services. Then, when the travellers were finally moved on they left a large amount of garden waste on the site. It doesn't take the deductive powers of Sherlock to figure out what had happened. If this was the case then the travellers were effectively stealing business from legitimate garden maintenance companies who have to factor in the tipping costs of disposing of waste when quoting for work. They also stole from the pot we all have to pay into as permanent residents with our council taxes since council contractors then had to remove and dispose of the waste - not to mention rubbish and now re-turfing.

When travellers moved on to Lower Green Road wooden posts were pulled out of the ground that enable them to move their vehicles onto the green. This was criminal damage but with little chance of legal enforcement despite the clear and obvious beneficiaries of the crime. I understand that the posts could not be reinstated until they left as it would have been considered "imprisonment"!!

If posts and bollards can be removed with impunity it may be that the only solution is to dig ditches along potential points of vehicle access with bridges only wide enough to allow pedestrians and the council's tractor mowers to get across (similar to Giggs Hill Green)

I accept with regards to other crime it may just be a very unfortunate coincidence, but there has been a definite and noticeable uptick in reports of crime in the area on social media since the travellers first arrived. This has ranged from a string of thefts from sheds and gardens to a spate of burglaries last weekend.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cuboid on August 28, 2014, 09:15:44 PM
I can indeed confirm that another group has now set up camp on the grass verge along Longmead Road - this is getting beyond a joke now! I did suspected this area was at threat when the possession order signs went up which have now been duly ripped out of the ground by the way. I am assuming that another possession order will be required for this separate adjacent land buying them more time.

Just a thought but is there any mileage in getting an advanced possession order for all the green spaces in the area to so they can be moved on immediately instead of this laborious procedure which buys them a good month or so wherever they choose to set up camp.

No doubt it is just a matter of time before the wagons roll onto the hallowed turf of Giggs Hill green >:(


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: craigvmax on August 28, 2014, 11:46:12 PM
Are there two access points to Giggs Hill green?  Is it time to have barrier points on these or vehicles blocking them temporarily?


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cllr Ruth Bruce on August 29, 2014, 09:04:51 AM
In haste . . .now gone from the Longmead Road site.

Ruth B


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cuboid on August 29, 2014, 09:27:43 AM
Are you sure?? at 6am this morning they were still on Longmead Road verge and in numbers (must have been at least 10 strong!). They had all decamped from Weston Green onto the Longmead verge. In doing so they have left Weston Green in a right old mess - litter every where, destroyed all the grass, mud on the road and footpath - its a state!!


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cllr Ruth Bruce on August 29, 2014, 09:45:33 AM
Hello,

Yes they have simply moved further down Longmead Road.

Necessary EBC officers have been informed.

We will update this page as we have more news.

Ruth B


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on August 29, 2014, 11:16:34 AM
I understand the land on Longmead Rd doesn't belong to the council. Does this mean a new court application will need to be made?


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 29, 2014, 04:03:11 PM

Latest update:

The land DOES belong to Elmbridge Borough Council.

The land IS also covered by the present notification which means that the County Court hearing fixed for Monday 1st September will go ahead as planned.

It is at that hearing that the council will apply for an Order to repossess the land.

Should the travellers decide not to leave the site voluntarily further legal action will be taken to remove them from the site.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on August 29, 2014, 04:46:32 PM
Thanks Tannia. All the work you and Ruth are doing is much appreciated.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on August 29, 2014, 05:41:28 PM
Ruth and I are both keeping our 'fingers on the pulse' but I have to say that it is the officers at EBC who deserve praise - people have no idea the amount of work and effort that they are putting into this problem! They are going beyond the call of duty - they visit the site regularly and are ahead of the game most of the time.  I have been extremely impressed!


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cllr Ruth Bruce on September 01, 2014, 12:09:54 PM
Latest:-

The County Court Order to repossess the land inhabited by the travellers in Longmead was obtained at Kingston Crown Court this morning. It is being served now. The travellers have to leave immediately. If they do not then admin steps have already been taken to begin the process of turning the County Court Order into a High Court one. This takes a matter of hours. Once a High Court Order is drawn up, if the travellers remain, then further legal enforcement action to actually affect an eviction will follow as swiftly as possible - usually within 24 hours or so.

I hope this offers some comfort to all, especially those who were disturbed by the loud ongoing party on the site yesterday.

Ruth B


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cuboid on September 02, 2014, 10:00:42 AM
Well well .....I suppose it does not come as surprise but serving of the notice has clearly had zero effect. Suppose we will have to wait another week or so for the police/council to mobilise bailifs to evict in the meantime buying this unruly lot another week or so to ruin the lives of the poor residents of Longmead/Weston Green.  ::)


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Leafy on September 02, 2014, 11:54:20 AM

Assume this follows displacement from Weston Green / Longmead


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Admin on September 02, 2014, 12:31:54 PM
t's a couple of years since the last time on Colets' grounds when, if I recall correctly, armed police and the helicopter had to stage an operation to arrest two travellers who were wanted for serious crimes elsewhere in the country.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: craigvmax on September 02, 2014, 12:36:30 PM
yes correct, I remember that. What a nightmare for Colets.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Deborah on September 02, 2014, 12:36:59 PM
Unfortunately legal processes have to be followed. Although I don't particularly want a  caravan site in the road I live,  I cannot say my life has been ruined! To be honest the travellers are only parking their vans on a piece of land that it seems acceptable for the footballers to park on every weekend. They have also made less noise than those same footballers.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on September 02, 2014, 12:45:05 PM

Delighted to report that the latest legal action has produced an excellent result.  There were no vehicles on site at 12 30pm.  Let us hope that they have left the Borough...for good.

Tannia Shipley.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Leafy on September 02, 2014, 01:32:42 PM
Quote from: Tannia Shipley on September 02, 2014, 12:45:05 PM
Delighted to report that the latest legal action has produced an excellent result.  There were no vehicles on site at 12 30pm.  Let us hope that they have left the Borough...for good.

Tannia Shipley.


See TRAVELLERS in COLETS Car Park at
http://residents-association.com/forum/index.php?topic=1093.0


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Ratty on September 02, 2014, 01:40:58 PM
(http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff485/TDRatty/IMG_7917_zpsdde0b30d.jpg)


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on September 02, 2014, 03:23:17 PM

I gather that the travellers have told the police that they will be leaving the site at 5pm as they are 'going to Gatwick' (?!)

Colets of course, is privately owned, and I understand that they are therefore able to obtain a 24 hour Injunction.  This is obviously much quicker than the legal process that EBC had to go through in obtaining a  Possession Order and subsequently the High Court Order. However, there is a cost involved in obtaining the Injunction and I don't suppose that Colets will be happy about that.

Let us hope that they move at 5pm as promised.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Dilys on September 02, 2014, 06:57:03 PM
18.55 and they are still there. Looks like they are there for the night.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Dilys on September 02, 2014, 07:05:23 PM
This situation was bound to happen. Why oh why do collets not have a barrier up in the evening to prevent people using the car park? Surely after the club has finished there is no need for anyone to use the site.
Considering the last round of unseasoned characters took up residence on the land! I hope the residence of Speer Rd and Summer Road are vigilant.



Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Ratty on September 02, 2014, 07:36:44 PM
The travellers moved to Colets during the middle of the day, so a barrier would not have prevented this incursion.

Police are currently in attendance and a few of the vans have already moved on.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Dilys on September 02, 2014, 08:30:25 PM
8.30pm - They're on the move



Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cllr Ruth Bruce on September 03, 2014, 09:00:15 AM
The Travellers have taken up residence in Weston Green on the track across the common between the Hampton Court Way and the top end of Weston Park.

Council officers are already taking action.

Residents are advised to stay away and report any anti social behaviour.

We will update this site as more is known, as before.

Ruth Bruce


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Admin on September 03, 2014, 09:40:39 AM
1.  There must surely be some other laws and even civil actions to recover the considerable costs from these people.  The current situation is ridiculous.

2.  The RA and EBC (as the Lord of our commons) should consider lobbying for changes to the law to enable any illegal occupier, named or not named, to be ejected from a publicly owned site if they decline to leave, and for all costs to be recoverable.   There could be exceptions for short-term valid purposes such as public protest.  A good start would be to establish contact with other groups who would be likely to support such lobbying, and to meet with our MP.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Tannia Shipley on September 03, 2014, 10:48:54 AM
Update:

The Council's Gypsy/Traveller Liaison Officer, together with the police, have already visited the site this morning to carry  out an assessment. This assessment is required under the legal protocol for dealing with unauthorised traveller sites.  (See earlier postings for more information).

The aim is to get to the County Court today to progress papers in order to apply to the Court to repossess the land.  A Court hearing date will be set by the Court - this will depend on an available 'slot'.  This has happened quite quickly in the past - fingers crossed!

A refuse bin will be put on the site and the grounds maintenance contractor will carry out site litter clearance where practicable.

Ruth and I will keep posting information on this forum as soon as we get it.  The Council officers are working extremely hard to remedy this problem asap. but, as has been stated previously, they have to go through all the legal procedures...and this takes a little time.





Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Cuboid on September 03, 2014, 10:56:37 AM
When this crowd has finally gone (and hopefully that is sooner rather than later!) the RA need to take away from this a number of lessons learned. This matter of traveller incursion has now got to be the number one priority on the RA's agenda. Work should commence as soon as practicably possible on safeguarding all our beloved green space - either by aesthatically pleasing bollarding or trenching or by some other means in order to mitigate against this whole debacle happening again. Yes it is going to be expensive but it will save us all money and heartache in the long run.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion
Post by: Tannia Shipley on September 03, 2014, 05:37:38 PM

The Council have been granted a County Court hearing date for Monday 8th September, for a possession order.  This is excellent news as we really are at the 'mercy' of the court - there has to be an available slot for the case to be heard and we could have been waiting much longer.

The travellers will then be issued with the court order which excludes them from the site.  Should they decide not leave the site voluntarily, further legal action will be taken to remove them from the land.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion off Weston Green Road / Longmead
Post by: Keith on September 03, 2014, 09:04:18 PM
Quote from: Tannia Shipley on August 25, 2014, 09:37:58 PM
The council looked at the problem last year and decided that fencing off many hectares of  common land was not practical or feasible. However, now that the Longmead site  has proved to be particularly vulnerable it might be prudent to take a look to see if anything could be done to make the area more 'traveller proof'.  I'm not totally convinced about bollarding - it didn't prevent an incursion in Cobbs Green for instance. We think that some of the travellers entered that site via the rear but it became obvious that they were also entering and egressing via the bollarded area too. The bollards on Cobbs Green have now all been reinstated - it will be interesting to see if this prevents any further incursions.  I will speak to the officers to see if they have any suggestions regarding Longmead -  we cannot go on having to cope with this problem on a regular basis.

Tannia


Reviewing this thread, it seems to me that there is a difference between those large tracts of common which are relatively distant from residential housing, and those smaller spaces in urban or semi-urban areas that are closer to residents.

After the abuse, intimidation, filth, noise, and (from what one hears) borderline criminal activities of this group of "travellers" there is surely a case for revisiting the issue of relatively unobtrusive defences, permeable to pedestrians and cyclists but not to vehicles, where these can be put around spaces that are close to residential areas.  I hope that EBC will think again.

As Admin I have already written on the desirability of finding others to join with in pursuing changes in the laws which are very clearly inadequate.  I should also like to see efforts to seek financial compensation from the travellers, who have roadworthy vehicles and other possessions that could be sequestered if fines are unpaid, for the civil costs incurred in obtaining their removal from illegally occupied land.  What are the options open to Elmbridge for doing this, and is any action now contemplated or in train?

I do hope that fear of being accused of "political incorrectness" will not dilute the authorities' response to this wholly unacceptable activity that causes trouble across the country.


Title: Re: Traveller incursion
Post by: Tannia Shipley on September 03, 2014, 11:34:18 PM

Elmbridge Council has given much consideration to protecting land against illegal incursion and have indeed invested in grass bunds, bollards, vehicle height barriers, strong gates and barriers and shrouded locks on a number of vulnerable sites to make illegal access more difficult.  There are in excess of 850 hectares of open space, numerous car parks and miles of highway and public rights of way in the Borough and it is very difficult, if not impossible, to secure all access points.  That having been said both Cllr Bruce and I will be discussing the areas in 'our' patch that have proved to be particularly vulnerable this year. Your first point regarding the large tracts of common land and smaller spaces have been noted.

On your second point I think everyone would agree that the laws require an overhaul - they are indeed 'clearly inadequate'.

I suspect that seeking financial compensation from the travellers would be a 'non-starter'.  Yes, the council may well have details of the travellers who have been on the sites (we have to remember that there have been different travellers on the various sites although some have remained the same)  but without evidence and witnesses of the  transgressions, on whom would you 'pin' the blame? They are collectively responsible for the litter and  damage to the land although, in fairness, it must be said that one  traveller was seen to make an effort to clear the litter after most of his fellow travellers had left!

With regard to the civil costs incurred in obtaining their removal Ruth and I will certainly ask Elmbridge if there are any options available.



Title: Re: Traveller incursion
Post by: Cllr Ruth Bruce on September 04, 2014, 12:09:50 PM
Update:

All bar one caravan have left the Ditton Common site and we are told is, as we speak being escorted out of the Borough by the police. This is however, as yet, unconfirmed. We will give a further update as things become clearer.



Title: Re: Traveller incursion
Post by: Cllr Ruth Bruce on September 04, 2014, 12:54:47 PM
I am pleased to be able to report that I have now been able to speak directly to a Council officer and the police officer who has been dealing with this matter this morning.

The police officer confirmed she escorted 8 of the 9 caravans from the Ditton Common site and out of Elmbridge Borough a little over an hour ago now. She left them at Kingston where she reported that they appeared to go separate ways.

Regardless, ofiicers have this morning put up posts all over Ditton Common to advise that a court order will still be sought as planned on 8th September. This will apply to the whole of Ditton Common, including the areas surrounding Milbourne Pond and the side of Hampton Court Way that encompasses the golf course.

The police officer believes the remaining caravan has been 'dumped'. There are no occupants. This will be dealt with by the Council and a general clear up will commence as soon as possible.

If, in law, any costs can be applied to these individuals then this will be pursued.

As previously stated, Cllr Tannia Shipley and I will be discussing, with officers, what can be reasonably and practically done to address the issue of further incursions in due course but this is a thorny issue in itself.

Let's hope these travellers anyway have gone for good this time.

Tannia and I are so proud of our Weston Green residents who have borne this summer's activities by these people with dignity and fortitude, not to mention being the most possible help, so that our collective actions has sent a message that Weston Green and Elmbridge as a whole will always apply a robust approach to illegal encampments of this kind.

It remains for us to send a heartfelt thank you to our officers, many of whom have fielded calls in the evenings and been up at the crack of dawn to deal with the necessary steps to ensure that matters were dealt with as soon as they posssibly could be to avoid a situation, seen in other boroughs, where travellers 'bed down' for months.

Ruth Bruce 


Title: Re: Traveller incursion
Post by: Admin on September 04, 2014, 01:57:26 PM
Yes, well done all and thanks to you both and the council officers for pressing hard to get the laws applied. It is always sad to see occasional residents all too ready to blame the "toothless" council (as I saw one resident post it) rather than the toothless laws passed by parliament.

Another thought occurred: travellers always seem to leave litter.  There are by-laws concerning littering.  There are fines that can be applied.  Perhaps next time - for there surely will be a next time - travelling litter louts can be identified and fined?


Title: Re: Traveller incursion
Post by: mark.hawkins on September 21, 2014, 02:12:40 PM
I have been overseas for the last few weeks and delighted to see that this problem has been sorted. I would like to express my thanks to the councillors here in this ward and also the officers at Elbridge for all their hard work. In light of very inadequate and weak laws and some "artful dodgers" who know the loopholes, this would have been difficult. Well done and thanks to all those that made this happen.


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