23
September
2013
|
00:00
Europe/London

Leeds City Council looks at further ways to tackle unlawful encampments


Leeds City Council has secured a quick turnaround after working with the courts to evict Travellers from land on Kirkstall Road.



The council reacted quickly after reports of an unlawful encampment and have secured an ‘abridged court date’ which means the case can be heard within a matter of days, leading to what will hopefully be a successful eviction notice.



The council is currently looking at all available options to deal with unlawful Gypsy and Traveller encampments across the city after having used a number of successful methods recently.



In the past 12 months the council has been successful in reducing the amount of money spent on dealing with unlawful encampments – dropping by more than £200,000. Since 2008/09 the number of unlawful encampments in the city has dropped by 63%. New, innovative ways of working have been introduced such as two toleration agreements, one at Bath Road and the other at the old Primrose High School and two injunctions.



Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:



“We have worked closely with the courts to secure this quick turnaround, so as to minimise disruption to residents.



“We recognise the need to continue to reduce our spending on unauthorised encampments and are working to see what further powers we can use to do this.



“In the case of the encampment at Kirkstall Road we have moved swiftly and also have plans in place to minimise the risk of the camp moving elsewhere in the city.



“We approach the police in all cases to assess what powers they can use. Already we have put in place a number of initiatives such as toleration agreements and injunctions to tackle the issue which have worked successfully to a point and we want to continue to build on this work.”





Councillor Javaid Akhtar, chair of the inner north west area committee said:



“We have worked locally to erect CCTV signage around this area, and our intention is to place a camera on site as soon as possible.



“We have already arranged for skips to be placed at the area to keep rubbish to a minimum and will be looking at how we can minimise disruption for local residents.”





Ends



For media enquiries, please contact;

Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk