St Albans Council's attempt to oust travellers from car park fails

PUBLISHED: 11:48 28 July 2016 | UPDATED: 11:48 28 July 2016

Cllr Chris Brazier next to the car park in Smallford where travellers have set up camp next to the Alban Way.

Cllr Chris Brazier next to the car park in Smallford where travellers have set up camp next to the Alban Way.

Archant

Efforts to remove travellers from a public car park have failed after their solicitors successfully brought a halt to official action by the council.

A family of travellers moved onto the Alban Way car park in Station Road in Smallford on July 14, near the Smallford Station, which has been at the centre of a transformation project.

St Albans council’s head of legal services Michael Lovelady said that the authority had received reports that two caravans and two vehicles had moved onto the council-owned car park.

He said that as the travellers “do not have permission to be there, a legal notice was served requiring them to leave. The notice was made under Section 77 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.

“Following written representations from the travellers’ solicitors, we decided to withdraw the notice.”

The reason for the refusal has not been revealed, as the details of the representation made on behalf of the family are confidential.

Mr Lovelady said the council was “considering the points raised by the solicitors and will decide shortly whether to serve a new section 77 notice”.

However the delayed departure of the travellers has annoyed residents, with Councillor for Colney Heath Chris Brazier saying that the “incursion” was dragging on for too long.

He said: “People are very upset because they have been there for two weeks, with a generator, near to the station. They can’t understand why the legal notice was cancelled, because if someone trespasses on private land, they have to leave within 24 hours.”

Cllr Brazier said he was unsure whether the travellers were claiming that there were an inadequate number of sites provided for them in St Albans”, but, if so, “we have enough in the southern part of the district, but there might be inadequate provision in the north”.

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