Travellers have set up at Ramsgate’s Marina Esplanade car park

The group at the seafront car park

A Travellers group has set up at the Marina Esplanade car park in Ramsgate.

Around six caravans plus cars and vans  arrived at the eastern undercliff site this evening (August 27).

It brings the total unauthorised camps in Thanet this year to above 40. The most recent were at Royal Esplanade at the Westcliff, where the group were onsite for around three weeks, and then at Joss Bay last week where more than a dozen caravans currently remain.

Joss Bay photo Ruth Harries

The site is owned by Thanet council and officers will need to carry out welfare and vehicle checks before issuing a notice to leave if required.

At a neighbouhood engagement meeting this month Sergeant Stephen Moat, from Kent Police, said this year’s incursions had “increased dramatically.”

He told residents at the meeting that police will gather registrations from each new encampment but a notice to leave could sometimes leave officers and Thanet council “chasing our own tails.”

He added: “There can be a court order to evict but groups might just go 100 yards up the road and stop on private land.”

Other actions taken by Thanet council alongside the legal process of issuing notice to quit include gathering details and checking them against TDC records to then issue a Community Protection Warning Notice, or Community Protection Notice if a warning has previously been served.

If taken to prosecution, any equipment or vehicles used in the breach of a notice can be seized. In one week during June 48  warnings were served on unauthorised encampments.

Negotiated Stopping

A recent article in the Travellers Times has suggested unauthorised camps could be dealt with under a ‘Negotiated Stopping’ scheme, which the Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange says reduces costs, community tensions and conflict

The Traveller Times says the solution has been used by Leeds City Council for a number of years, saving  the council and police close to £250,000 a year in legal and clean up fees.

‘Negotiated Stopping’ involves a contract between mobile Travellers and councils that allow the Travellers to camp for up to three months on specified areas of vacant council land. The authority would usually agree to provide household rubbish disposal and sanitation. In return, the Gypsies and Travellers sign a contract agreeing to keep the area clean and to move off at the end of the agreed period.

The council also directs Travellers away from contentious public spaces – like playing fields – and onto more appropriate council land in return for a longer stay for the Travellers involved.

Read here: County councillor call for authorised Travellers’ site as Thanet council visits 26th ‘illegal’ camp this year

Read here: Travellers Times backs Negotiated Stopping scheme


  1. Other councils are taking out injunctions protecting “vulnerable council owned land” in accordance to Home Office recommendations. TDC should be following suit.
    Also why aren’t parking tickets being issued. If I park there without paying I’d get a ticket, and then another etc. I’m happy for travellers to lead their nomadic life and not contribute to society as long as they don’t expect society to provide for them, including NHS, Police protection etc, immunity from parking fines. If they’re not willing to contribute to the running of the countries services then they should be exempt from using them

  2. This is the group, minus the pony, that were on the West Cliff. If the Council has to do vehicle checks then why did they not notice that the cars were all untaxed and mostly MoT free?

  3. How is it we have to pay parking fees, but they don’t pay a penny, or do not get penalty fines.

  4. The council and authorities cause a lot of the problems tbst local pepple have with travellers,
    1 we pay council tax and those taxes are used to pah for the clea up after every group leave
    2 if a local or a person from the general public were to park in a carpark they would have to nuy a tivket or get fines.
    3 some of the vehicles if any cannot hold insutance as one of the legal requirements is an address for overnight parking.
    4 with so many caravans being stolen police should be checking chasis numbers.
    5 again the parking fees it is said that you cannot fine them as no permanent address clamp their caravans cars until ticket of fine is paid.
    stop the double standards

  5. This is all about accountability, those of us who have paid our taxes, including vehicle, and Council Tax all our lives, object to those who think they can get away with not doing the same! Make them contribute to our taxes, and clamp them until they do. Lastly, what toilets are they using?

  6. Dennis Franklin. The toilets that they will be using is right in front of them, it’s called ‘the sea’ or any corner as judging by the mess left on the west cliff. Also if we clamp them then they won’t move at all and would stay there legally.

    • Yes I can see the attraction of them using the sea as an open sewer, but at least if they were clamped they wouldn’t be “travellers” They would get fed up with the view in the winter, and want to move after a few Force 10 gales! I have no objection to these people living in caravans, on properly licensed sites, with ablution facilities etc, as long as they pay their taxes, and rental for the site!

  7. The travellers are parked in a pay and display car park. Surely the best thing to do is to ticket them every two hours Until they rack up loads of parking tickets and their vehicles can be impounded? As soon as it’s costing them loads of money they will move on. Or are their vehicles above the law? If so why are we paying the parking tarrifs

  8. They are parked in a pay and display car park. The council should repeatedly ticket them until the run for the hillside run out of money they won’t want their vehicles impounded

  9. Why is it that some people are allowed to flagrantly disobey the law while contributing no tax and are given a green light by the police while ordinary, tax-paying citizens would be fined, given tickets, arrested etc for the same behaviour?
    You can’t have different rules for different people that’s not how society works.

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