More caravans have arrived at the council-owned car park at the rear of Dreamland today (May 19)
The Traveller’s group has expanded despite being issued with notice to quit by Thanet council on Tuesday.
The group arrived on site on Monday with around six vans. That has now grown to at least 10.
A Thanet council spokesman said: “We were made aware of the travellers on Tuesday – officers went out with police and issued an initial notice.”
The authority will need to make an application to the court for eviction if the group does not comply.
It is the third time the car park has been used as an encampment in the past three months. A group who moved onto the site in March left two days later following the issuing of a court summons.
A second group used the site in April. The same month the Travelling community set up at Dane Valley Green.
Further settlements this year have taken place at St Nicholas, Manston Tesco and land by the Manston airport site.
If Thanet council has to apply to the courts for an eviction notice it will cost some £226. If further hearings are necessary, this can go up to £355 each time.
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.
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.
Providing Traveller sites – the law
The Housing Act 2004 and Planning Circular 01/2006, Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites, has put in place a framework which means every local authority has to identify land for the sites that are needed in its area. The Secretary of State has powers that can ensure that those sites are identified, and the Local Government Association (LGA) says local authorities should be proactive in doing so.
The LGA adds: “The provision of these sites removes a major cause of friction between the two communities – unauthorised sites and illegal camping.”
The nearest authorised areas to Thanet are at Aylesham and Canterbury but according to Kent County Council there are currently no plots available at these sites.