Thanet council threatens legal action against Traveller group in Ramsgate

The group were moved on from Ramsgate Port yesterday Photo Malcolm Kirkaldie

Thanet council says it will pursue prosecution if a Traveller group at Marina Esplanade in Ramsgate does not quit the site in 24 hours.

The group were evicted from land at Ramsgate Port yesterday (February 25) and had been sited at the Ramsgate seafront car park prior to that – meaning they are now in breach of the Section 77 notice to quit previously issued.

Yesterday Kent Police officers assisted staff from TDC with the eviction. Officers were present to ensure there were no breaches of the peace.

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “There is currently an unauthorised encampment at the Marina Esplanade car park in Ramsgate.

“Officers have visited and have warned the encampment that they are breaching a Section 77 notice already issued on this land. If the group has not moved on within 24 hours, the council will be pursuing prosecution.”

Temporary site proposals

Thanet council is proposing temporary “tolerated sites” for Travellers groups which could be created at the former education space at Tivoli Brooks, Margate; Ramsgate Port car park and Potten Street car park in St Nicholas-at-Wade.The aim would be to use the sites on a rotation basis to alleviate the issue of unauthorised camps on the isle.

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

Unauthorised encampments at sites including Dane Valley, Marina Esplanade, Government Acre and the car park by Dreamland have risen sharply from two in 2013 to 55 in 2018 and around 53 last year.

According to a council report some 70 locations across Thanet have been assessed as vulnerable to vehicle based unauthorised encampments.

A need for 7 permanent and 5 transit vehicle pitches in Thanet has been identified. Temporary tolerated pitches – where unauthorised encampments stay for an agreed amount of time – are currently being examined.

Speaking of the temporary pitch proposals Joseph Jones, of the Gypsy Council, previously told The Isle of Thanet News: “It’s nice to see a positive move towards a responsibility to provide, but I still feel there is room for a permanent site too. In Leeds, Yorkshire, they have a tolerated site policy, well tried and tested and it’s good that TDC are looking in that direction.”