District-wide ban imposed on travellers' occupation

Two Warwickshire councils have secured an interim injunction preventing a group of travellers from establishing unauthorised encampments, with the High Court agreeing that it was in the public interest to restrain such action.

Between 2016 and 2018, 103 unauthorised encampments had been established, causing significant nuisance to the local authorities, businesses and residents. Attempts had been made under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to clear the travellers from sites including car parks and green spaces. This had proved ineffective, with the travellers moving onto new sites, requiring the process to begin again. The councils also argued that the proximity of some sites to schools had required these to be closed to ensure pupil and staff safety and public health.

Deputy judge Timothy Straker QC agreed that it was reasonable to expect further breaches of planning control if no further action was taken and that the consequences of the defendants’ unlawful behaviour were not conducive to the best interests of law-abiding citizens. In his view, the order had been carefully drawn, making provision for the welfare of children affected. He concluded that the cost to the councils, along with damage to land and public health issues associated with fly-tipping and clearing human excrement from some sites, supported granting the injunction.

Nuneaton Borough Council v Corcoran

Date: 19 March 2019

Ref: [2019] 3 WLUK 308

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