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In the news:- High Court allows travellers to stay on unauthorised site for now

High Court allows travellers to stay on unauthorised site for now
08 June 2017

At a hearing in the High Court yesterday (June 7) a judge ruled to allow travellers to stay on an unauthorised site known as land west of Hovefields Avenue, Wickford until further notice.

The site is covered by an injunction made on the 18 October 2016 preventing further development of the land and restricting occupation to those living there at that time.

Basildon Council had also served planning enforcement notices to remedy the planning breaches. The land is designated ‘green belt’ and permission had not been given for the change of use to a caravan site.

The injunction was secured against the Tidd family, John Hilden, George Davis and ‘persons unknown’ but a parcel of the relevant land was subsequently sold to Michael Smith, formerly of Cranfield Park Avenue, who moved onto the site with 10 others who now form a group of 11 defendants.

On 5 June 2017, the defendants applied to the court to vary the injunction order to allow them to stay and for the changed layout of caravans and mobile homes, wooden sheds and the fencing surrounding the pitches to remain in place.

This application was heard yesterday ahead of the committal proceedings brought by Basildon Council against the defendants for breaching the injunction and a further application seeking the court’s authority to enter the land and remove the offending caravans, hardstanding and fencing.
Despite the council’s strong objections, Mr Justice Singh allowed the injunction to be varied which means that the travellers can remain on the site, substituting their names on the order for the Tidd family, who no longer occupy the land.

The time spent dealing with the defendants application meant that there was insufficient court time available for the council’s own applications to be heard and the judge felt it was appropriate to give further directions to deal with this application. A further hearing will be arranged for this to happen, which will not take place before 23 June.