Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk MP has welcomed new plans to tackle the problems caused by illegal traveller sites. Home Office proposals will allow the police to intervene and remove travellers camped illegally.
The Home Secretary is also considering making it a criminal offence to set up such camps and local authorities will be given practical and financial support to handle unauthorised encampments.
Alex Chalk said:
“Illegal travellers' sites that spring up over-night are a regular event in Cheltenham, whether it’s on Cheltenham Race Course, in laybys, on private land, playing fields or parks. I have taken up the concerns of local residents with the Borough Council on a number of occasions. Let’s be clear, this problem is caused by a small minority of the travelling community. But it causes enormous frustration and distress.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
“There is a widespread perception that the law does not apply to travellers and that is deeply troubling. The result of our initial consultation was clear - people want to see greater protection for local communities and for the police to be given greater power to crack down on trespassers.
Alex Chalk added:
“I want our police and local councils to have the tools to sort out these problems quickly and effectively. As part of that we need to ensure that travellers continue to have good access to legal, permanent and transit sites. There is no point in closing down an illegal site, simply to see it shifted half a mile down the road onto someone else’s doorstep.”