Evicting travellers may infringe their rights says inspector but is necessary for ‘public safety’

A GOVERNMENT inspector says evicting a gypsy family from an illegal site might well interfere with their human rights but would be “in pursuit of the legitimate aim of public safety”

Diane Lewis said the risk of flooding was the “decisive factor” in backing enforcement action by Fenland District Council.

Ms Lewis, who held a public hearing on February 14 and later visited the site on land south of Rosemary Cottage, New Road, Manea, supported the council’s removal of three caravans and a mobile home.

William Temple and his family will have a year to comply with the order and give them time, if needed said Ms Lewis, to alleviate flood risk and submit a fresh planning application.

Ms Lewis said she agreed with Fenland Council and the Environment Agency that as it stands both Mr Temple and his family would lose their homes but safety was a key consideration.

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The family occupying the site include The Temples’ daughter Caroline, son Billy, his wife and two children and another son Mark and his wife.

The family only stay in Manea for six months a year, says Ms Lewis, and are away travelling the rest. Although the site is reckoned to be low risk for the probability of flooding, the consequences of the failure of defences are considered as “very high”.

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The inspector accepted the Temples have a need for a settled base, having moved here in 2006 from Braintree. They are said to have strong connections to the Manea area but prefer not to live in a house “because of their culture and tradition lifestyle.

Supporting the council’s enforcement action but leaving the door open to a future planning application was, argued Ms Lewis, “proportionate and necessary and will not result in a violation of their rights”.

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