Injunction protects land from encampments

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Canterbury City Council has secured a year-long injunction to try and prevent unauthorised gypsy and traveller encampments on its land.

In April, the council obtained a temporary emergency injunction from the High Court prior to Easter and the May bank holidays, but was required to return to the court in order to secure a full injunction.

The follow up case was heard on Monday 3 June, at which the Judge awarded the injunction for the next 12 months to cover a total of 81 selected areas of land across the district.

These include sites where there have been multiple encampments or that are, in the council’s view, more vulnerable, such as Kingsmead Field (pictured), the former Kingsmead coach park and Beverley Meadow in Canterbury, the Memorial Park and Neptune car park in Herne Bay, and the Faversham Road car park in Whitstable.

The injunction means that anyone who illegally parks either a caravan or a mobile home on the land covered by the injunction is in breach of it and is required by law to leave immediately, or be in contempt of court. This offence carries numerous sanctions, including up to two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

The decision to pursue an injunction was supported unanimously by city councillors in 2018. A report outlined there had been 19 unauthorised encampments on the council’s land since the start of 2016.

Council Leader, Cllr Rob Thomas, said: “We are very pleased to have secured this longer injunction following the compelling arguments made by our officers in court. The message from this should be heard loud and clear – unauthorised encampments on our land will not be accepted.”