The Twickenham Tribune


Council issues injunction order to remove travellers from Ham


Following the return of an unauthorised traveller camp on Riverside Drive in Ham, the Council has reviewed the position and will now commence enforcement proceedings to move them on. A range of factors were taken into account when making this decision, including the considerable impact on the amenity and safety of local residents.

The unauthorised camp returned on 31 May, following their departure from Riverside Pitches on 20 May. When the travellers departed from the original site, the Council worked hard to repair damage and clean up approximately 10 tonnes of waste that had been left behind.  

They have since returned and set up camp on the green space at Riverside Drive. Over the weekend the Council acted swiftly and placed large heavy bags of gravel outside the barrier to the Pitches to ensure that they couldn’t return to the original site.

In normal circumstances the Council acts rapidly and works with the Police to ensure that travellers move on to authorised sites. Often this has been done within a matter of days.Ham-Travellers-Return

The pandemic has however brought along new factors that councils must consider in decision-making when contemplating enforcement action against camps. This includes new Government guidance relating to the particular vulnerability of gypsies and travellers families/groups to COVID-19 which the Council has considered carefully as well has having due regard to the Council’s Public Sector Equality Duty.

The Council’s legal team, environmental services and public health colleagues have reviewed the guidance and concluded that - due to the transient nature of the travellers, the current low levels of local infection, the close proximity of the occupied site to nearby residents, and the amount of unsanitary waste that was previously left behind - it is proportionate and in the best health interests of all concerned to commence enforcement action.

The Council has already commenced the necessary legal proceedings. However, the full ability to enforce may take a few days longer. In the meantime, the Council has conducted further welfare checks and will provide the travellers with Public Health guidance on staying safe during the pandemic. The Council is also investigating short-term sanitation facilities.

Whilst the travellers are still on site, the Council’s park security contractor, Park Guard, will continue to monitor the situation. 

Residents are reminded that if they do witness any crime or anti-social behaviour – they must report it to the Police on 101.

Cllr Julia Neden-Watts, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee at Richmond Council, said:

“Government guidance is clear that we have to take into account the wellbeing of everybody during the pandemic and that includes the travellers. The required welfare checks have been carried out, and we have gone on to consider the full range of issues including the concerns raised by nearby residents. We have reached the conclusion that the travellers must move on. Accordingly, we have commenced legal proceedings and expect them to take effect over the next few days.”



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