Friday, 6 June 2014

New Council policy on Travellers' camps

North Ayrshire Council has outlined its powers and responsibilities when working with Gypsies and Travellers who camp in the area.

The local authority’s ruling SNP Cabinet last week agreed to create a new post, on a temporary basis, which will have the specific remit of working with unauthorised encampments to minimise any issues that might arise.

Cllr Ruth Maguire, SNP Cabinet Member for Housing, said, “The new policy agreed by the Cabinet highlights the Council’s legal obligation to support Travellers, particularly in terms of education and social care, and makes Travellers aware of their responsibilities.

“The policy explains what the Council can and cannot do when an unauthorised camp is formed. Legally, Travellers are a protected minority group and public agencies have a duty to ensure there is no discrimination and that the Traveller culture is respected.

“The Council only has the right to evict travellers from Council land in very rare circumstances – generally where there is a clear risk to public health or evidence of disorder. However, the genuine concerns of residents and businesses regarding the setting up of unauthorised encampments must be recognised and respected.”

Cllr Maguire noted, “Unlike their public equivalents, private landowners do have recourse to the law through the eviction process. The Council provides support for private landowners in this situation and will consider how best to develop and take this forward.”

The newly-agreed policy covers a range of issues, including the Council’s response to unauthorised encampments on both public and private land, response to local residents’ enquiries and complaints, determination of exceptional circumstances that warrant eviction from Council land, and support for landowners to minimise issues relating to unauthorised encampments.

No comments:

Post a Comment