Central Bedfordshire Council obtains traveller injunction Image:AdobeStock_24640829

Travellers banned from parts of Central Bedfordshire

Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) has gained an injunction banning eleven named individuals from setting up unauthorised encampments anywhere in Central Bedfordshire over the next two years.

During summer in 2017 these individuals and their families moved from site to site across Central Bedfordshire. The Council said that this caused disruption which impacted local communities.

The injunction was granted by the High Court under Section 1 Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, and runs between 5 October 2018 and until 5 October 2020. Councillor Ian Dalgarno, executive member for community services, said:

“We have been listening to the concerns of members of the public, and we have been working hard to tackle the problem of unauthorised encampments.”

Councillor Dalgarno mentioned the injunction when he responded to residents’ concerns about travellers in the south of Central Bedfordshire at September’s full council meeting.

As it is more difficult to block access in some areas against unauthorised encampments, the injunction stops any unauthorised encampments on specific parcels of land: The areas in Marston Vale are:

  • Cricket pavilion in Marston Moretaine
  • Long verge on C94 near to Wood End, Marston Moretaine
  • Verge on one-way section of Woburn Rd, Marston Moretaine
  • Marston Moretaine village green
  • Hoo Lane, Wootton Green (Marston Parish)
  • Bridleway and nature reserve, Ridgmont
  • The Old Salford Road, Brogborough (two sites)
  • Verge on C94 by Lidlington lake
  • Verges at junction of A4012 Mill Rd and Station Rd, Ridgmont
  • Land off C94 Lidlington
  • Highways England land off Wood End
  • Land off C94 between Brogborough and Marston Moretaine
  • Highways England land off Lower Shelton Road, Marston Moretaine
  • Rose and Crown Public House, Ridgmont

Preventative measures have been carried out

Over the last year, CBC has undertaken a huge amount of work to secure council-owned land. This includes installing height barriers, bunding, ditches and strengthening gates.

It has also been advising private landowners on suitable measures to take on their land and working with Highways England to strengthen the prevention measures at Junction 12 of the M1.

Preventative measures carried out the Vale are:

  • C94 Verge – Marston Moretaine – Verge ploughed with help from local farmer
  • One way section verge – Marston Moretaine – Verge bunded with help from local farmer
  • Bridleway and nature reserve – Ridgemont – Bunding and ditching work completed
  • Old Salford Road – Brogborough – Bunding work completed using reserve fund and assistance from Pro-Logis
  • Verge – Lidlington – Bunding work using reserve fund
  • Verges at Mill Road and Station Road – Ridgmont – Bunding work using local company, enhanced using reserve fund.
  • B430 Lay-by – Kempston (CBC area only) – Bunding work, Waste Team covered cost.

Cllr Dalgarno said:

“So far, the prevention works have been successful in reducing unauthorised encampments. This year, we’ve seen a 55% reduction on council-owned land and a 26% reduction in encampments across all land in Central Bedfordshire.

“The injunction will help us further by acting as a deterrent but also anyone who breaks the injunction faces the threat of arrest if they do not leave a site immediately when asked to.”

CBC was not able to apply for a blanket injunction to prevent all unauthorised encampments across the whole of its area. It hopes that this injunction will send out a clear message that it will take strong and decisive action against unauthorised encampments.