Travellers at Joss Bay and Nethercourt are to be served notice to quit

Photo Chris Smee

Travellers at sites in Joss Bay and Nethercourt will be served with notices to quit today (August 8).

Encampments have set up next to Nethercourt Touring Park and on land opposite the council car park in Joss Bay.

Thanet council will apply to the courts for eviction if the Travellers have not moved on by tomorrow.

Cllr Lin Fairbrass, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “We are aware of the Traveller incursion on land adjacent to the Joss Bay car park and at land next to Nethercourt Touring Park. Community safety officers will be visiting the sites to serve a notice requiring the Travellers to leave forthwith. If they are still at this location by tomorrow, we will apply to the courts for eviction.”

 Photo Chris Smee

Palm Bay has not had a Traveller encampment, vans on the recreation ground belong to Sanger’s Stage Show which travelled from Stonehenge to Margate to lead the carnival on Sunday.

One of their trailers has broke down and is awaiting repair and removal.

Travellers have moved onto several isle sites over the last few months. An encampment who moved on to Dane Valley Green last month were served notice to quit after eight campers and caravans turned up.

The site has been targeted by Traveller groups several times this year.

Photo John Cripps

On  April 5 a group moved caravans onto the site and left on April 13 – apparently to another spot on the isle.

A second Traveller community arrived soon after and did not leave until May 3.

On June 27 Travellers who had set up at Jackey Bakers field in Ramsgate were moved on – but set  a ‘new’ encampment up at Dane Park in Margate. They were moved on the same night and eventually set up camp in Herne Bay.

The process

Council land

For council-owned land Thanet council would need to obtain a ‘direction to leave’ order from magistrates’ court.

To do this the authority has to:

  • Show that the gypsies/travellers are on the land without consent.
  • Have regard to the general health and welfare of the group and the children’s education.
  • Ensure that the Human Rights Act 1998 has been fully complied with.

The council must follow a set procedure that is based on Government guidance. This procedure includes proving ownership of the land, carrying out assessments for the health, welfare and education criteria, and assessing the impact of the encampment on its location and local neighbourhood.

Once these have been carried out the council can use this information for the service of notices and summonses to apply for a court order for eviction.

Private land

For privately-owned land the landowner can attempt to agree a leaving date with the travellers or take proceedings in the County Court under the Civil Procedures Rules 1998 to obtain a court order for their eviction as trespassers.

The landowner may be in breach of planning legislation and the Caravan Sites Act 1960 unless they have already obtained planning permission for a caravan site.

If there is no planning permission the council may take proceedings against the landowner to require removal of the illegally parked caravans.