Elmbridge Borough Council has been granted a three year protective injunction banning the setting up of unauthorised encampments and fly-tipping on all identified public land.
Following on from the recent three-month injunction granted in August 2018, the High Court today (Thursday 8 November) has extended that injunction for a further three years. The injunction covers all of the Borough’s parks, open spaces and car parks.
The injunction prevents any individual from occupying land or depositing waste as well as stopping anyone from entering, or occupying any part of the land for residential purposes, including caravans, mobile homes and vehicles. This has proved a very effective deterrent during the temporary injunction. It will also prevent the Council from having to obtain court orders for the removal of these encampments, which can take several days to obtain, and will authorise High Court enforcement officers to move people on if they take no notice of the injunction order. Failure to do so can result in imprisonment, fines or seizure of assets.
The Council evidenced large-scale fly-tipping and the cost of clearing it, damage to gates and barriers, lost parking income and the large increase in the number and size of recent encampments as well as the significant impact on communities living adjacent to each encampment and the loss of community facilities during the summer.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Tim Oliver said: “I am delighted that the protective injunction has been extended for three years. This will bring relief to our residents and businesses who have been impacted by the disruption throughout the summer. I would like to thank the Officers and Members of the Council for the hard work and diligence required to bring our case to the High Court. We will now carry on with the work we are doing to review the security of all of our open sites so that our communities can enjoy their surroundings, whilst continuing to closely monitor any illegal activity across the Borough.”
Superintendent Andy Rundle said: “We understand the concerns and the impact on local communities in relation to allegations of criminality and anti-social behaviour associated with some of the recent encampments. When there is criminality of any sort, regardless of who is involved, we will respond and take action.
“It is important to understand that Police powers are very specific and prescribed and do not cover civil issues, which we know can sometimes be frustrating and confusing for our communities.
“However, in relation to recent events, we are now hopeful that with this injunction in place we can respond proactively to the concerns of local residents and reduce the negative impact of unauthorised encampments upon the local community.”
2018 has seen an unprecedented increase in levels of unauthorised encampments in Elmbridge, totalling 27 on public parks and open spaces as well as other recent encampments on private owned land such as Painshill Park. The size of these encampments has also risen dramatically with some encampments being over 60 vehicles in size.