Thanet council says it will “enforce removal” of a Traveller group that has been sited in the authority-owned car park next to Dreamland since January 4.
The action is being taken after a court order for removal was ignored. There are around 15 caravans at the site.
A Thanet council spokesperson said: “We are aware of the Traveller group that is currently at Dreamland. A court order has been served however, it has not been complied with and the traveller group has not moved on. In light of this, the next step is to enforce removal.”
It is an offence for somebody subject to such Section 77 removal notice to fail to leave as soon as reasonably practicable or to re-enter the site within three months of the date on which the notice was given.
The next step means the council will forcibly evict the group.
Lack of official sites
A spokesman from the Friends, Families and Travellers organisation said a lack of official sites is forcing groups to pull up on public land and not enough is being done to address that issue.
They added: “Local authorities across the country have largely failed to identify land for Gypsy and Traveller families to stop in their local plans so many families are forced to pull up in public spaces and on private land. This leaves many Gypsy and Traveller families statutorily homeless with interrupted access to basic water and sanitation, education and healthcare.
“Our recent submission of evidence to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women found that despite the fact the Government made £4.7 billion available under the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme 2016-2021 – which includes provisions to build Gypsy and Traveller sites – not a single local authority has used this funding to build sites.
“It would appear that there is a need in Thanet for authorised sites to be built. We would recommend that the district council and local authority work with the Traveller community in the area to identify land that would be suitable for building new sites to accommodate these residents.”
The total number of unauthorised camps in Thanet last year was above 50, in 2013 just two were recorded.
The Housing Act 2004 placed a duty upon local authorities to produce assessments of accommodation need for Gypsies and Travellers.
In Summer 2013 Canterbury, Dover District, Shepway and Thanet councils commissioned the Salford Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) at the University of Salford to produce an updated Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Assessment that was undertaken by DeMonfort University in 2007.
The primary purpose of this assessment was to provide up to date information and data regarding the needs and requirements of the Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople communities. The report presented the projection of pitch requirements for the period 2013 – 2027.
For Thanet it assessed that there was no need for permanent or transit pitches. For Canterbury the need was estimated at 40 pitches, Dover 7 and Shepway 7.
However the rise in the number of encampments for Thanet could force a review of that assessment.