MINUTES OF SWAFFHAM BULBECK PARISH COUNCIL
MEETING NUMBER 479
Held at Downing Court on Tuesday 17th September 2019 starting at 7.30pm
Present: Cllr Sue Romero (SR); Cllr Gordon Reid (GR); Cllr John Trapp (JT); Cllr Peter Raby (PR); Cllr Robin Sewell (RS); Cllr Kay Ballard (KB); Cllr Sophie Singleton (SS);
Clerk: Mrs D Bayliss
County Councillor Shuter
Meeting opened at 7.00pm
4746 The Parish Council Chairman introduced the members present to the members of the public who were in attendance at the meeting and outlined the events of the last 10 days
On Friday 6th September late in the afternoon a group of travellers with seven caravans arrived on the Denny to set up an unauthorised encampment. As the land belongs to the Parish Council it was their responsibility to deal with the matter. Immediate action was taken to inform and take advice from the police, Cambs County Council Enforcement Officer and East Cambs Traveller Liaison Officer. The advice from all three officers, who work closely on such matters, was to immediately instruct bailiffs to carry out the eviction process using Common Law power and then to ensure that the perimeter of the Denny was secure from access to caravans. It was recommended that the work to secure the perimeter should be done within two to three weeks as it was highly likely that a traveller group might arrive and set up camp again now that the Denny was known to the traveller community.
Bailiffs were instructed by the Parish Council to carry out the eviction process over the weekend. By Sunday afternoon travellers had been evicted and our Handyman, Jamie Sugg, cleared black bags of rubbish and checked the Denny was safe to use once more. An Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the Parish Council was arranged for 17th September to decide how to ensure that the perimeter of the Denny was secured from access to caravans within the timescale suggested by advisory officers.
Unexpectedly, the same traveller group and others returned to the Denny two days later on Tuesday afternoon 10th September with nine caravans. Arrangements to secure the Denny could not have been put in place in time to prevent this unforeseen situation. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss emergency measures to keep the travellers from returning to the Denny once they had been evicted for the second time.
OPEN FORUM FOR PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
A number of questions were raised by members of the public pertaining to the encampment on the Denny. In particular, why had action to evict the travellers had not been taken sooner. The overall recommendation from the meeting was that the eviction and measures to secure the Denny should be taken as soon as possible.
4747 TO RECEIVE APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Cllr Nicky Bates; Cllr Reed;
4748 MEMBERS DECLARATION OF INTEREST FOR ITEMS ON THE AGENDA & REQUESTS FOR DISPENSATION
4749 DENNY MATTERS
The Chairman put forward two questions to the councillors present:
Do councillors agree that the travellers should be moved on immediately?
Do councillors agree that measures to secure the site should be taken as soon as the travellers have been moved on?
It was proposed by Councillor Romero, seconded by Councillor Sewell and resolved that the Parish Council will instruct bailiffs to carry out the eviction procedure with immediate effect and ensure that the perimeter of the site is made secure with large tree trunks immediately following the eviction.
It was proposed by Councillor Trapp, seconded by Councillor Singleton and resolved that the clerk should be delegated the authority to contact East Cambs District Council to arrange the clean up of the Denny and the Denny woods as soon as practical.
The area will be taped off ASAP by the handyman and a message will be advising the school that children should not use the woods until further notice.
A Working Group which includes Parish Councillors, the Clerk and members of the community will meet on 25th September to consider options for securing the perimeter of the Denny on a permanent basis. The County Enforcement Officer will also attend this meeting to provide advice.
The meeting closed at 8.05pm