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Council in East Lancashire to be given more powers to evict travellers
11:34pm Friday 9th August 2013 in News
COUNCILS will be given more powers to evict travellers who set up illegal encampments after new guidelines were introduced by the Government.
The Department of Communities and Local Government has outlined new legal powers councils and landowners have to remove unauthorised traveller sites, protest camps and squatters from both public and private land, as well as tackling the mess caused by the sites.
East Lancashire has been beset by a large number of illegal traveller sites being set up in the area which have cost councils thousands of pounds in legal fees.
During a visit to Crown Paints in Darwen on Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron explained the new powers.
In a question and answer session, he was tackled on the issue of traveller encampments around the firm’s factory by Colin Brigden, who praised the council for its efforts to move them on.
Mr Cameron said: “I am pleased the council does take action and has powers to deal with this issue.
“If you suddenly build an extension on your garage or on your house, the council comes down on you like a ton of bricks and says, ‘Hold on, you didn’t have planning permission for that’.
“And yet sometimes we have seen travellers effectively set up home illegally and yet action doesn’t seem to be taken.
“It is a very clear principle. The same law should apply to everybody. And just as you can’t suddenly change your house without permission you can’t suddenly set up an encampment without permission.
“We need to make sure councils are able to do that so if it is more powers they need I am very happy to look at that.”
Meanwhile, one local councillor has called for the provision of better facilities for travellers until they are moved on.
Coun Roy Davies, who represents the Sudell ward of Darwen, said: “I received a complaint from a resident that travellers in the process of being evicted from a site near Milking Lane in Lower Darwen has been refused permission to use the toilets at the nearby Heritage Envelopes factory.
“The consequences are now that they are using some spare land to dump human faeces on.
“Although Blackburn with Darwen Council does provide a good site for travellers, I think in this case until the eviction can take place adequate facilities should be provided as part of their human rights and to stop the land near to their camp being contaminated.”