Eleven Named Travellers Banned from Central Bedfordshire

Central Bedfordshire Council has gained an injunction banning eleven named individuals from setting up unauthorised encampments anywhere in Central Bedfordshire over the next two years.

2017 was a really difficult summer in Central Bedfordshire, where these individuals and their families moved from site to site across the authority area, causing disruption such as anti-social behaviour and large clean-ups which impacted on local communities.

The injunction bans 11 named defendants entering CBC authority area to camp. And 15 identified areas are for any persons deciding to camp there. This is indefinite for those areas, whereas the named persons part lasts two years.

Over the last year, Central Bedfordshire Council has undertaken a huge amount of work to secure council-owned land, including installing height barriers, bunding, ditches and strengthening gates.

The council has also been advising private landowners on suitable measures to take on their land. Additionally, they have been liaising with Highways England to strengthen the prevention measures at Junction 12 of the M1.

Part of the injunction notice at CBC website

Part of the injunction notice at CBC website

Part of the injunction notice at CBC website

However, in some areas it is more difficult to block access against unauthorised encampments. For this reason, the injunction also stops any unauthorised encampments on specific parcels of land in Ridgmont, Husborne Crawley, Brogborough, Salford, Lidlington, Marston Moretaine, Lower Shelton and Wootton.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “We have been listening to the concerns of members of the public, and we have been working hard to tackle the problem of unauthorised encampments.

“So far, the prevention works have been successful in reducing unauthorised encampments. This year, we’ve seen a 55% reduction on council-owned land and a 26% reduction in encampments across all land in Central Bedfordshire (based on figures from 1 January to 1 October 2018 compared to the same period for 2017).

“The injunction will help us further by acting as a deterrent but also anyone who breaks the injunction faces the threat of arrest if they do not leave a site immediately when asked to.

“We are not able to apply for a blanket injunction to prevent all unauthorised encampments across the whole of Central Bedfordshire.  But this injunction sends out a clear message that we’re taking strong and decisive action against unauthorised encampments.’

You can see a full copy of the injunction on the Central Bedfordshire Council website

The injunction was granted by the High Court under Section 1 Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, and will begin on 5 October 2018 and runs until 5 October 2020.

Preventative measures

A Council statement lists a number of sites where preventative measures have been installed:

Court House – Dunstable - Site blocked and bunded. Joint work with Assets Team

Grove Theatre – Dunstable - Height barriers installed

Skimpot Lane – Dunstable - Concrete blocks installed, purchased using reserve fund

Woodside Link Road – Houghton Regis - Protection works in conjunction with Highways Team

Go Bowling – Dunstable - Height barriers installed - Go Bowling paid half whilst other half was used from reserve fund

Newlands Road – Westoning - Bunded with help from local farmer

Bellsbrook – Biggleswade - Gate repaired and strengthened using reserve fund

C94 Verge – Marston Moretaine - Verge ploughed with help from local farmer

One way section verge – Marston Moretaine - Verge bunded with help from local farmer

Bridleway and nature reserve – Ridgemont - Bunding and ditching work completed

Old Salford Road – Brogborough - Bunding work completed using reserve fund and assistance from Pro-Logis

Verge – Lidlington - Bunding work using reserve fund

Verges at Mill Road and Station Road – Ridgmont - Bunding work using local company, enhanced using reserve fund.

Brewers Hill Car Park – Dunstable - Welding work to pre-existing height barrier using reserve fund.

B430 Lay-by – Kempston (CBC area only) - Bunding work, Waste Team covered cost.

Verges at High Street and Ireland Road – Southill - Bunding work conducted on our behalf by Southill Estates.

Old Baldock Road – Salford - Bunding work, soil purchased from reserve fund and bund built by local JCB operator.  New gate installed at entrance, provided by Highways Team