Fenland Council to vote on court bid to force closure of illegal travellers site

A SURPRISE move by Fenland Council could be authorised as early as next Wednesday to evict families from an illegal travellers’ site near Wisbech.

In a newly published report to the planning committee, Graham Nourse, recently promoted to chief planning officer (delivery), is recommending the council goes to court for an injunction.

Mr Nourse details options available to deal with the illegal site in Redmoor Lane and says given the site’s history there seems little prospect of planning permission being granted.

He says the council may well conclude “in light of the serious harm caused by the unauthorised development” and given the Secretary of State’s support that it is no longer enough “to do nothing and to tolerate these breaches of planning control”.

Mr Nourse will recommend the council apply for a mandatory injunction he begin the task of removing them.

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He said a Government inspector was “very conscious” of the vulnerable nature of the unauthorised development in relation to flood risk.

Appeal decisions from 2008 and 2009 indicated the arguments in favour of the site did not outweigh “the fundamental conflict of the proposal”.

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Mr Nourse’s report outlines other possibilities include for the council to take no action “and in effect tolerate the site”. This would mean the enforcement notices remaining on file “but the council would in effect be indicating that it was prepared to tolerate the breaches”.

Councillors will be told the continuing existence of the caravans is a flagrant breach of an enforcement notice and remains a criminal offence.

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