Showdown Looms With Travellers Occupying Car Park By Sainsbury's

Police on scene promise group will be moved on today

Group is encamped in car park surrounded by white fence


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A group believed to be from the traveller community have taken up occupation on a disused car park on Essex Place next to Sainsbury's in Chiswick.

The site is believed to be owned by Lend Lease who have abandoned work on a major residential project at the location.

The encampment, which is formed of about five caravans and plus other vehicles, is believed to have moved in the early hours of Friday morning (19 April) or late on Thursday evening. A large amount of debris has been brought to the site which it is believed the group have been paid to dispose of illicitly. A white police van with a number of officers was in the area on Saturday around 6pm. The entrance to the encampment was padlocked. spoke to one of the police officers monitoring the site who said that they were confident of having the group moved on by this Sunday (21 April). It was not anticipated that the holiday period would delay the legal measures necessary to regain possession of the site and that they would be out by 3pm.

Lend Lease claim to have 24 hour security at the site which is surrounded by a high white fence. It is not known how the group gained access.

A notice has been placed on the fence outlining their legal argument for occupying the site. It states 'it is our home and we intend to stay here'.

The notice quotes the Criminal Law Act of 1997 saying that violence cannot be used to remove them and that they are not trespassers and therefore cannot be removed under common law powers.

It concludes by saying, “If you want to get us out you will have to issue a claim for possession in the County Court or in the High Court.”

Local Councillor Joanna Biddolph has contacted the appropriate person at Hounslow Council, the police and Lend Lease (who were already aware of the incursion). She says as the Bank Holiday weekend had just started it might take longer than normal for the process of removal to be completed.

She says, “"My understanding is that, as the unauthorised encampment is on private land, the landowner has to issue a notice of intent to obtain a possession order to remove the trespassers and seek an order via the courts.

"Considering it is a long bank holiday weekend it could take several days to get a possession order (if the encampment has not left voluntarily). With the May bank holiday the weekend after this one, the eviction might take some time."

"If there is evidence of anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and/or there are six or more vehicles, the police may use their discretionary s.61 powers of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to order the occupants (together with their property) to leave. However, the fact that the encampment is on private land makes this action unlikely. This might change if the trespassers cause problems outside the car park”

April 21, 2019

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