Fears That Chiswick May Face More Traveller Encampments

Concern over possible displacement into W4 from Ealing


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Concern is being raised that land in Chiswick could become a target for traveller encampments, following Ealing Council's decision to take legal steps to deal with an increase in encampments.

Ealing Council has applied to the High Court for a borough-wide injunction against encampments, on police advice. The injunction would forbid caravans, mobile homes, vans and lorries from coming onto public land for the purpose of occupying it or depositing waste.

A source told Chiswickw4.com that Hounslow Council is also seriously considering seeking a similar injunction, in a bid to prevent displacement by traveller encampments coming into Hounslow borough.

In Chiswick, Lendlease had to take action to step up security on one of its sites, following the recent incursion of several caravans into a vacant Lendlease site behind Sainsbury's. After the travellers left, the company had to get rid of mounds of rubbish and building waste which was left behind.

Traveller encampments are dealt with by Hounslow's Enforcement department but when it comes to private land, it is up to the owner to deal with the matter and it is their responsibility to contact the Enforcement department of the Police to obtain orders for them to leave.

A spokesperson for Hounslow Council said: "We are aware of Ealing council’s introduction of an injunction against travellers.

"While we continue to explore our options with regard to unlawful occupation of public land by any party, we have yet to decide what further measures we may take to discourage future illegal trespass."

In previous years there have been travellers staying or short periods of time at Dukes Meadows, But the High Court injunctions sought by the Councils only relate to public land. In theory this could expose private landowners to greater risk of incursions. Such sites in the Chiswick area include the B&Q site, the Chiswick Curve site, and others in the Gunnersbury area.

Cllr Joanna Biddolph said; "I would urge these people all to consider the extent to which their premises are secured and to put in measures to deter unauthorised encampments."

Ealing Common councillor Joanna Dabrowska collected 1,500 signatures for a petition in favour of an injunction. The Council initially resisted the move but following an increase in unauthorised encampments - over forty since November 2018 - they have now applied for the injunction and will spend a significant sum in the Ealing Common perimeter to prevent caravans and vehicles being able to park there.

Councillor Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council, said, “Most travellers are peaceful and law abiding. However, as in all communities, there are those who fail to respect their surroundings, or local residents, or who are intent on criminal behaviour. Indeed, we have had several instances of commercial fly-tipping, with tonnes of waste being dumped illegally.

“The council has allocated £200K to construct bunds, railings and ditches around the perimeter of Ealing Common, which should prevent unauthorised vehicles accessing the Common. As this is common land, we’re waiting for the Secretary of State for Local Government to approve our application to construct these defences. After the success of similar works on Norwood Green I am confident that the proposed works, in addition to the injunction the council has applied for, will dramatically reduce unauthorised encampments.”

"The next step is for the Council to provide more legal pitches to improve travellers’ access to welfare and education.”

The traveller group was encamped in car park surrounded by white fence
Picture: @quickposting1


May 11, 2019

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