Thurrock Council secures injunction to block illegal development on 40-hectare green belt site

An Essex local authority has secured an interim High Court injunction to prevent unauthorised works on a 40-hectare green belt site - the latest in a series of court interventions by the council to restrict illegal works taking place at the location.

London's Royal Courts of Justice
London's Royal Courts of Justice

A statement issued by Thurrock Council on Friday said that, following a court hearing on Thursday 6 August, it had successfully been granted an interim High Court injunction "preventing any further unauthorised development on more than 100 acres of green belt land to the north of Buckles Lane and to the south of Mollands Lane, South Ockendon".

It added that a further court hearing will take place later in the year to determine if the temporary injunction will be made permanent.

Buckles Lane is home to a significant travellers site. The interim injunction is the latest in a series of legal moves by the authority to prevent unauthorised development at the site.

In February 2019, the council said it had secured "another court injunction preventing unauthorised development of the Buckles Lane traveller site in South Ockendon".

This followed another injunction served in June 2018 "to prevent expansion of the Buckles Lane site", the council said.

Commenting on the latest interim injunction, the Conservative leader of Thurrock Council, councillor Rob Gledhill, said: "Our environmental and planning enforcement officers working in partnership proactively identified an area of green belt land where unauthorised development was being carried out.

"The teams obtained evidence of this development, reacting quickly, and working closely with our legal team, to obtain an interim injunction preventing any further unauthorised development at the site.

"Being granted this injunction gives us the powers we need to protect our land more effectively and should act as a deterrent for any future areas of land that might be at risk of unauthorised development".

Last week, Brentwood Borough Council in Essex secured an interim injunction to block development on land at the village of Blackmore.

Also this month, the High Court backed Chichester District Council's bid for an injunction to remove a Gypsy settlement that lacked planning permission.

A Planning feature examining councils' increasing use of injunctions to ban unauthorised traveller sites can be read here.

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