WDC obtains High Court injunction to speed up removal of unauthorised incursions

Hughenden Park dog walkers - small

Wycombe District Council has successfully obtained a High Court injunction that will speed up the process of removing any unauthorised encampments at many key council-owned open spaces and car parks.

The injunction was granted today (Wednesday 7 August) by the High Court.

As a result, any future removals from the relevant sites should be much speedier, provided that no welfare issues exist.

The sites include The Rye, Hughenden Park, Desborough Rec, and the Park and Ride at Handy Cross and other development land on the same site. The order covers the 101 WDC-owned sites where unauthorised encampments have previously been a problem or where there is a particular risk. A blanket order to cover all properties would not be granted by the courts.

Council Leader Cllr Katrina Wood said: “This injunction will enable us to be far more effective in tackling unwelcome incursions on key council-owned open spaces and car parks throughout the district.

“There was a long process involved in achieving the injunction. But now that it has been granted by the High Court we can avoid the situation we had over the last few weeks when a traveller group moved from one local park to another.”

Deputy Leader Cllr Dominic Barnes added: “Residents were rightly enraged by the anti-social behaviour, which was frustrating for us because we were legally required to follow a process that could, and did, take many days.

“With the injunction in place we will now be able to act much more swiftly, potentially within hours.”

The order is currently being posted up at the 101 sites and a copy with the supporting papers will be available on the website.

Cllr Julia Adey, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We have placed high priority on clean-ups and sent in a team very swiftly each time an unauthorised encampment has been moved on.

“This result should spare residents from the mess left behind, reduce the cost of clean-ups and free up the waste team to do their normal jobs.”

On the first occasion of any unauthorised encampment on a site covered by the injunction it will constitute a breach of the order and the following steps will have to be taken:

  •  A writ of assistance will be obtained from the High Court.
  • The writ lasts the length of the order and requires the police to assist with the removal if necessary.
  • At the same time as the writ is being prepared, a welfare assessment will be carried out as usual by Bucks County Council’s Gypsy and Traveller Service.
  • Assuming no reason to permit the occupation to remain, the writ is presented to the occupiers and they are told to vacate within two hours.
  • Those who don’t are told they have to leave or there will be forced removal.

Sites not included in the injunction will be covered by the usual legal process via the Bucks Gypsy and Traveller Service.