BREAKING NEWS: Fenland councillors approve injunction to remove illegal travellers to avoid ‘Dale Farm’ scenes
TIME is running out for the travellers illegally occupying land in Wisbech as councillors decided today to seek a court injunction to avoid the scenes of Dale Farm.
The council’s planning committee voted to apply for an injunction to remove seven mobile homes and seven caravans from Redmoor Lane, Elm.
Planning chief Graham Nourse said there was little prospect of planning permission being granted.
There were five options available to the Fenland District Council planning committee including a mandatory injunction, compulsory purchase, prosecution or take no action. The last was to take direct action, the approach Basildon Borough Council took, but was seen by council officers to be too “draconian.”
Councillor David Connor said: “We have to do this the proper way as we have seen the problems if you don’t in the last six months at Dale Farm.”
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Councillor Mark Archer said: “If this involved an ordinary resident we would have rejected the plans, in an area with flooding issues such as this we would have said the property needs two storeys to be approved.
“As we have seen at Dale Farm we can’t go in with direct action, there are people who live there who have health implications and we can’t threaten the people who live there, including the children.
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“We have done it the right way, and as far as I’m concerned the people who live there are there illegally and we can’t just put up with it because it would open the floodgates.
“Fenland council has got a good relationship with the travellers and we don’t want to upset them as they need a place to live.
“In my personal view we have got it in time and again if you look at Dale Farm they have taken 10 years to take action and we don’t want that in Fenland.”
A council spokesman said: “Our Planning Committee accepted the recommendation from a detailed report from officers that spelt out all the options open to the council.
“It also said that prosecution would not result in compliance and that a fine was unlikely to bring about a remedy to the breaches of planning law on the site.
“It concluded that seeking a mandatory injunction through the courts was proportionate, necessary and expedient in the public interest.”
Councillor Jan French said: “Where Dale Farm got it wrong is they didn’t put the first injunction in early enough but we have.”