Council issues notice to leave to Chine Traveller group

Notice issued to leave The Chine Photo Swift Aerial Photography

Concerns have been raised that the Ricki Savage 20 mile road race tomorrow (March 17) might be disrupted at the end of the route because a Traveller’s group has blocked part of the West Cliff promenade.

The race, organised by Thanet Roadrunners, is an annual event in memory of 27 year old Ricki, from Ramsgate, who died from a heart attack after completing the Dublin Marathon in 2013,

It starts and ends at the Boating Pool but part of the route is blocked after the Traveller group moved on to the site on Thursday.

They are some of those who had been at the Sunken Gardens, which now needs a clear up operation. Prior to that the group was at Dane Valley Green after being moved from  the Marina Esplanade car park in Ramsgate.

They moved to the car park on they day the group was evicted from the council-owned car park by Dreamland.

A council clear up also took place at Dane Valley.

Thanet council says it is aware of the new encampment and notice to quit has been issued.

A Thanet council spokesman said: “Thanet District Council is aware of the traveller group based at The Chine in Ramsgate. The location was attended by officers from the Community Safety team on Thursday afternoon. Having established that there were no welfare needs a Section 77 order has been served.

“If the group do not move on, an application for removal will be submitted to the Court.”

Since the order was served the encampment has grown with some members now parked at the Westcliff Mansions.

Need for an authorised site?

Photo Nik Mitchell

Thanet currently does not have an authorised site with the nearest being in Aylesham and Dover.

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.

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.

The Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) group say there is a national shortage of Gypsy and Traveller sites and available stopping places in the UK. The group’s research shows there has been only been a 2% increase in socially rented pitches available between 2010 and 2017.

The charity says that over recent months at least 19 local authorities have obtained high court injunctions to prevent Gypsies and Travellers from stopping on public land in their area. The penalty for those who do stop on land that isn’t theirs can include a fine, imprisonment and having their property seized.

Photo Nik Mitchell

FTT say: “When we consider that most families stopping on unauthorised sites are doing so because there is simply nowhere else to go, we think that this is unjust, disproportionate and cruel.

“With local authorities largely failing to identify land in their local plans where Gypsies and Travellers can live, many families are statutorily homeless. As a result, the government’s July 2018 Caravan Count found that over 3000 families are living on unauthorised land. This creates an environment where Gypsies and Travellers are being pushed from place to place, with fewer or no safe places to stop.”

Thanet council process explained

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 can not 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 tolerated 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.

10 Comments

  1. I do think that there could be more authorised sites for travellers in this country. Having said that it would have to be done at the behest of the travellers agreeing to finance their passage through and aftermath. Responsibility and respect must be shown. Everyone else in the countr complies with rules and regs it should be agreed by travellers too.

  2. I am getting bored with this. Charge them for the clean up if they dont pay take their vans and caravans. If we dont pay our fines the bailiffs take our property. WHY ARE THEY ABOVE THE LAW ?

    • Well said,they are the scum of the earth, stealing,fly tipping away of Life for them, check their vehicles,bet all use red diesel, bent not,etc

  3. Why do the council have to go through the long winded and costly legal process of clearing atraveller site in this instance. The first unlawful act here is driving motorised vehicles on prohibited public land, thus endangering the lives of pedestrians. That is a simple criminal act, nothing to do with travellers rights. the cars should be ordered to move on IMMEDIATELY by the police. That is the law. They could leave the caravans behind then presumably they would have to apply for permission to re enter the prohibited area to collect their caravans. This permission would be at the discretion of the police/highways authorities. It’s about time the powers that be started treating these criminal acts with some degree of resolution and urgency before law abiding people decide that enough is enough and take amtters into their own hands

  4. Why should we keep paying to clean up time after time, l pay rates for the up keep of Thanet not to clean up after travelers, l was walking my dog when the travelers backed up a transit tipper van and emptied the contents in to the sunken garden, they should be made to pay for all rubbish to be removed or there vehicles should be inpounded till they pay.

  5. The reason no one allows them to stay is because they always cause disruption, damage and fly-tip, not to mention antisocial behaviour, threats to local residents who speak up, or refuse the offers of jobs to be done at massively inflated prices, nor the increase in thefts etc in the areas where these illegal sites spring up.
    If they were responsible, cleaned up after themselves and treated the areas with respect, then there would be an abundance of places for them to stay.

  6. Wake-up wakey guys. You whinging because the travellers Arn”t following the law then you want the council to drag these people of the land and take their vehicles while disregarding the law.What a joke you people are. 👍

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