Council is powerless to stop travellers setting up camp again in Melton car parks

Burton Street travellers in June 2015'PHOTO: Tim Williams EMN-150708-163333001
Burton Street travellers in June 2015'PHOTO: Tim Williams EMN-150708-163333001
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Melton Council says it is powerless to stop travellers setting up camp on town centre car parks after caravans were parked on the Burton Street site for the second time in two months last week.

Only a small number of vehicles were there on this occasion but in the previous incident, in June, more than half the spaces were occupied by travelling families for several days.

The concern for the local authority is that there won’t be enough capacity for workers and shoppers to park in the town on busy days such as Saturdays and Tuesday market days.

But the council has ruled out putting barriers at the entrance to its main town centre car parks because it is logistically difficult.

David Blanchard, the council’s corporate property officer said: “We have processes in place for dealing with travellers and well established communication channels with Leicestershire County Council and the police.

“But given the extent of our land holdings and the fact that our pay and display car parks can be occupied 24 hours per day, seven days per week, it is not practical to secure the car parks to prevent unauthorised access.”

The latest incident was resolved swiftly after council representatives, police and the county liaison officer all spoke with the families and legal paperwork was prepared to serve an eviction notice although it was not needed.

In June, a large group of gypsies moved onto the site en route to the annual Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria but they quickly moved on after a legal notice requiring the travellers to leave was served by police, at the request of the council.