Notice to leave has been served on a Traveller group which moved on to Government Acre in Ramsgate yesterday (June 27).
Around eight to ten caravans are currently parked up on the green,
A Thanet council spokesman said: “Thanet District Council’s Community Safety Team are aware that travellers are on the land at Government Acre and council officers have visited them today to carry out the necessary welfare checks. As there are no welfare concerns a Section 77 Order has been issued.”
Travellers last used the Chine in March after being moved on from the Sunken Gardens. Prior to that they had been at Dane Valley Green after being moved from the Marina Esplanade car park in Ramsgate.
There are also around 10 caravans currently parked up on Dane Valley Green in Margate. Some of this group left the site yesterday but today has seen new arrivals.
There are currently no authorised pitches in Thanet district. A report commissioned by Thanet council says the district should provide five Traveller pitches -to accommodate 10 caravans – in the five year period up to 2022 and then an additional two pitches – equating to four more caravans- by 2031.
There were 50 unauthorised camps in Thanet last year, compared to just two in 2013. There have been at least 20 this year, mainly consisting of groups moving from one isle site to another.
A spokesman from the Friends, Families and Travellers organisation has previously told The Isle of Thanet News that a lack of official sites is forcing groups to pull up on public land and not enough is being done to address that issue.
UPDATE 4PM: Most of the group has now left Government Acre,
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.