Casebook: Court case - Showpeople win temporary reprieve from eviction

The High Court has granted a temporary reprieve to a group of travelling showpeople occupying a site in Gloucestershire, giving them until 8 January to move.

Tewkesbury Borough Council had obtained an injunction requiring 17 families to be evicted from one site in its area. Eight of the families subsequently moved onto another site nearby and the council sought an injunction requiring them to be moved on. Mr Justice Clarke agreed that their caravans, mobile homes and equipment should be removed from the land.

The judge held that the families had occupied the land in clear breach of planning policies and their occupation gave rise to unacceptable highway danger. He recognised the difficulty faced by the families in finding appropriate sites and the risk that they would have to live by the side of the road. However, he found that they had occupied the second site in full knowledge that permission was required and knowing the lengths that the council had gone through to evict them from their original base.

He noted that the county council was carrying out an assessment of the need for further traveller sites. In his view it was appropriate to require the families to vacate the land by 8 January to mitigate the impact on children attending local schools. He warned that failure to comply could lead to members of the family being jailed.

Tewkesbury Borough Council v Jones; Date: 31 October 2006; Ref: CO/1664/2006.

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