‘We’ll fund CCTV’ says Parish Council after police move on Brickhill travellers

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Brickhill travellers' site
The encampment in Brickhill was moved on yesterday.

A travellers’ encampment on Fosters Brow in Brickhill has been moved on by Police this afternoon.

This latest encampment has prompted the Parish Council to promise to fund CCTV at Brickhill Drive, and local councillors have pledged to allocate their own ward funding to the scheme if necessary.

Earlier, local residents vented their frustration on a Facebook post on the Brickhill Parish Council page, after 17 vehicles had set up camp on the green.

At that point, the council had asked for the police to use Section 61 powers to remove them but the police have refused.

In a statement at 17:00 this afternoon, a Borough Council spokesperson said, “Bedford Borough Council takes the issue of unauthorised encampments very seriously and has been taking legal action to enable eviction to take place of the unauthorised encampment at Brickhill.

“We have requested the Police to use their Section 61 powers to remove the encampments in Brickhill and we are pleased that they are being moved on by the Police today.”

In a statement on their Facebook page, Brickhill Parish Council said, “These encampments are a criminal disturbance to our community and there is also considerable cost involved in dealing with them.

“Clearly residents want them removed as quickly as possible but the action the council is allowed by law to take involves taking proceedings through the courts before eviction is allowed.

“We are extremely grateful to council officers who always respond immediately as soon as we report an encampment and action is taken through the courts as quickly as possible.

“Sadly it is extremely frustrating that the government appears to consider the human rights of those who engage in this activity to be more important than those of the law abiding settled community.

“There is also a considerable cost to the council in clearing up the green once these encampments have left behind. It is unacceptable that council officers should have to be engaged in the cleansing of sites contaminated by foul waste.

“…Protective measures such as barrier posts, ditches and bunding are not entirely effective at preventing encampments.

“Access points must be provided for maintenance and emergency vehicles and those who engage in unlawful encampments have shown a willingness to break locks and gates to gain access.

“This has occurred across the Borough, even on sites which also have High Court Injunctions. Nevertheless they are clearly not an encouragement for travellers and together with CCTV they must be considered on sites which are frequently attacked.

“We have therefore asked council officers to produce plans which provide protection for Brickhill Green and these will be presented for consultation to residents.

“Since whatever measures introduced cannot be guaranteed to prevent further encampments we will continue to pursue all legal means to reinforce the protection and allow the fastest removal of those who unlawfully access our community land.

“The Parish Council has already agreed to fund CCTV at Brickhill Drive and we will allocate our own ward funding to the protective measures if funding becomes an issue which prevents the work being completed.”