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High Court injunction to speed up removal of unauthorised encampments at many key open spaces and car parks in the Wycombe District

| August 8, 2019

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

The injunction, which was granted on Wednesday 7th August 2019, should help to make any future removals from the relevant sites much speedier, provided that no welfare issues exist.

The sites included under the injunction include :

  • The Rye
  • Hughenden Park
  • Desborough Recreation Ground
  • The Park and Ride at Handy Cross and other development land on the same site.

The order covers the 101 owned sites owned by Wycombe District Council where unauthorised encampments have previously been a problem or where there is a particular risk. However the courts would not grant a blanket order to cover all properties owned by the Council.

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.

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.

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

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.

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