The main question on Facebook from residents is why did the travellers not move last week when they said they would. The main reason given by the travellers was that they were holding out in the hope of the pregnant lady would give birth before they moved on – and because they knew they didn’t have to. A new caravan had arrived at the weekend (the parent of the pregnant woman), which effectively invalidated the Parish Council’s eviction notice – we had given notice to all of the caravans, except that one, because it hadn’t been there.
Due to it being a bank holiday weekend, that meant that we would not now be in a position to effect eviction until Friday of this week. The reasons for aiming for an agreement, as opposed to effecting eviction on Friday is three-fold;
- To effect eviction would cost approximately 10% of the parish council precept – which is the money you pay in council tax and that is used in a planned manner for the benefit of the village – so something would have to be cut if we paid for eviction.
- A Friday notice from Bailiff’s would necessitate a Saturday eviction at extra cost.
- Using recovery trucks (which would be used to physically evict the travellers) would churn up the playing fields and so cause even more expense.
Despite the concerns provoked by their presence, we are pleased that the travellers have exhibited good behaviour within the village. Although we have consciously created a positive relationship with the travellers, we have made them acutely aware that should they not leave on Sunday, as agreed and as contained in the notice documents given to each caravan, they will be evicted on Monday and there will be no more renegotiation. They have taken this on board and had conversations in front of us, as a group, that they would leave peacefully on Sunday. Clearly, until that time, we do not know if they will honour this, but it was decided that it was worth the extra days to see if they do, before having to commit to significant cost.
Parish Councillors are also local residents and parents – we hold the same concerns by the presence of the travellers as other residents. We have plans in place to secure the field immediately the travellers vacate it and will be taking further precautions in the near future. Police advised parish councillors on the night that they arrived that the travellers were able to stay this time as no damage was caused in accessing the field – they lifted it of its hinges without damaging it. This will not be possible in the future.