Thanet council officers will be making a site visit to the Marina Esplanade car park in Ramsgate today (December 4) after members of the Travelling community set up on the area yesterday.
Around 10 caravans are currently at the site.
The area has been used on several occasions this year as an encampment.
A Thanet council spokesperson said: “ We are aware of the illegal traveller encampment that has arrived at Marina Esplanade car park in Ramsgate.
“ Officers from Thanet District Council will visit the site today in order to undertake the necessary welfare assessments and following that, as appropriate, the required notices will be issued.”
The total number of unauthorised camps in Thanet this year is above 50.
There have been calls for an authorised camp to be considered for the isle and the idea of Negotiated Stopping – 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 – has also been raised.
Thanet council – the process
The first step is to notify Kent Police and Kent County Council’s Gypsy and Traveller unit.
TDC then visit the site to establish the extent of the encampment, make records of the number of caravans, tents or persons, complete required welfare checks, make records of vehicle registration plates and take photographs where necessary. Welfare checks are required by law and any welfare concerns are escalated to the relevant support agencies or departments.
If no concerns for welfare are raised or cannot be evidenced, a notice is served detailing an imminent departure time.
If welfare concerns are raised and can be evidenced or the encampment is in a location that causes no safety concerns and there are no other anti-social or criminal behaviours present then Government guidance states that the encampment should be allowed for a short period of time.
If the encampment remains past the time detailed on the Notice, a first court hearing is requested. The timescales in order to carry out appropriate checks and obtain hearings may mean there is 7-10 days between first visit to the encampment and the first court hearing.
If agreed by Magistrates, the court will issue a summons to the occupants of the encampment requiring attendance at a second hearing. This is then served on the occupants by the council with police support.
The court can schedule this second hearing at anytime they see fit. The council cannot influence this timescale.
At the second hearing the court considers granting an order for removal; if granted this is then served on the occupants and gives them a date and time by which they must leave the land they are camped on.
If this order is not complied with then the council has to instruct bailiffs to forcibly remove the occupants and their vehicles.
We all need a safe place for travellers with a contract that all sides agree to and accept responsibility for.
What do we expect them to achieve. ?
Oddly enough, about six caravans turned up on the land below Westcliff Terrace Mansions as well, but disappeared within about half an hour, presumably to join the rest of their group on the car park.
Well bad weather may happen before any court papers. I wouldn’t want to be there through the winter. There definitely needs changes to the way procedures take place to hurry things up where travellers are causing a nuisance to neighbouring residents or dumping rubbish and flytipping. Why is it a court needs to be involved, just to make money for the government?