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  1. ITV Report

Council calls for greater powers to act on illegal encampments

North Norfolk District Council served a Notice to move on the 23 illegally parked camper vans and caravans Credit: ITV News Anglia

North Norfolk District Council has written to the government calling for councils to be given greater powers to act when unauthorised encampments are set up.

It comes after a weekend of disruption in the seaside town of Cromer, which was said to be put into ‘lockdown’ as a result of antisocial behaviour and the rape of a teenager.

Local people said it followed the arrival of a group of travellers who've set up camp in the Runton Road car park in the town.

Extra police have been on duty over the weekend in Cromer Credit: ITV News Anglia

Currently, the council is able to issue a "direction to leave land" but, if this is not complied with, the Council needs to go to court to obtain a Magistrates Order to allow it to take enforcement action and move vehicles off the unauthorised sites.

The council wants the power to be able to instruct Travellers to move without delay to two Temporary Stopping Places in Cromer and Fakenham.

This would be instead of having to wait for a Magistrates Order, which can cause unacceptable delays, particularly at weekends.

The council has written to the Communities Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, to be given the power to be able to move people on immediately when they arrive and pitch up on unauthorised sites.

We believe we should have the power to be able to act straight away and not have to wait – especially over a weekend.

North Norfolk is a stunning holiday destination and our resorts and other communities deserve respect. We welcome all individuals and groups who respect our towns and countryside, our residents and other visitors, but where people come and set up unauthorised encampments, without thought for others, this does not show any respect and we want the power to move them on immediately and if necessary out of our district.

Those who don’t respect our resorts and visitor areas, whether Travellers or anyone else, are not welcome.

– Council Leader Cllr Tom FitzPatrick
Two Temporary Stopping Places with proper facilities are available for Travellers in the district Credit: North Norfolk District Council

North Norfolk District Council served a Notice to move on the 23 illegally parked camper vans and caravans early on Saturday afternoon (19 August 2017).

The Notice required the travellers to move by 3pm that day.

But the council says it was not complied with and, had the travellers not left on the Sunday, the Council would then have sought a Magistrates Order on the Monday to move them out of Cromer.

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