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SWT takes unauthorised encampment action

24 June 2020 : Council news, Community

SWT is taking action to deter unauthorised encampments on open space at the Blackbrook Leisure Centre, Taunton.

The Council has devised a temporary scheme to stop vehicles gaining access to the land which sees regular illegal encampments.

Work started this week to put large concrete boulders across access points to the car parks while the leisure centre is closed due to Coronavirus restrictions.

It will be followed with permanent measures to stop future illegal encampments when the facility is fully open again.

SWT hopes the initiative will help to ease concerns for the local community and reduce the cost of frequent eviction and clean-up operations.

Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, Leader of SWT, said: “We understand the concern that these traveller encampments create and are keen to provide assurance to the local community.

I'm pleased that the Council has been able to respond positively to this ongoing issue. This does not detract from our obligations to the travelling community and we continue to take our responsibility to them seriously.”

SWT has an agreed procedure for dealing with unauthorised encampments which can involve a lengthy legal process.

It also has obligations in respect of health and housing, working with travellers and unauthorised encampments to ensure welfare needs are met and any necessary agency or service requirements are signposted appropriately.