November 27, 2018 9.33 am This story is over 36 months old

Lincoln council to apply for injunction on travellers sites

It will make it quicker to evict them off public land

The City of Lincoln Council will apply for a High Court injunction order in an effort to crack down on travellers camps in the city.

Executive councillors voted to apply for the order which would grant the authority powers to move along encampments quicker.

The council has said it has had problems with traveller sites in numerous areas across the city.

Now it will apply for a city-wide order which will prohibit travellers from setting up camp on certain areas of land.

It comes as the council spent £44,160.47 since 2015 clearing up sites such as Skellingthorpe playing fields, South Common and Yarborough Leisure Centre.

City Hall, off Orchard Street. Photo Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The authority has said it has had problems with traveller sites in numerous areas across the city.

Officials said travellers at Hartsholme Country Park were the “most difficult to manage” due to anti-social behaviour and abuse to officers.

Meanwhile, council officers had to instruct bailiffs to remove travellers at South Common in September in a move which they said was the “longest” encampment they have had.

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council

Council leader Ric Metcalfe said the order will help to speed up the legal process and bring down costs.

“I think it gives us a quicker route to dealing with illegal encampments,” he said.

“We have had a lot of them recently and the processes that we have had to go through are fairly long drawn out.

“The sanctions are not as good as you would achieve with injunctions.

“We do think this is a sensible move to save the enormous amount of time and public cost that is attached to dealing with illegal encampments.”

Under the plans, the council would prevent traveller sites being set up on areas of land within the city boundary, such as South Common and Yarborough Leisure Centre.

If a site is set up, then the police would serve the injunction order immediately advising them that they are trespassing.

Photo: Natalie Lyon

Anyone who refuses to leave could face prison, an unlimited fine and seizure of assets.

A similar order is in place in the City of Wolverhampton Council area where 60 sites are covered by the injunction.

Meanwhile, Councillor Neil Murray, portfolio holder for economic growth, said it was “wrong” for local people to pay for illegal sites.

“If we can reduce the time it takes to deal with these sites then we should do it,” he said.

“They are premeditated and it is abuse, it is wrong that the people we represent should have to pay for that.”

The proposal has been given backing by Lincolnshire Police Chief Inspector, Stewart Brinn, and Lincolnshire County Council’s travellers liaison officer.

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