A small group of travellers who have pitched up in Burnham-On-Sea have today (Tuesday) been served with a legal notice to leave.
The three caravans and two vehicles arrived on Monday evening on a grassed area in Marine Drive, owned by Sedgemoor District Council, near the entrance to Apex Park.
“Our Legal team has this morning served notice on the travellers giving them 24 hours to move on as well as carrying out the statutory checks at the same time,” council spokesman Claire Faun told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
“If they have not gone within that time, we will start Court proceedings tomorrow.”
She explained how the legal process works: “Once it is has been established that there is an unauthorised incursion on to Sedgemoor District Council owned land.”
“The travellers are issued with a letter advising that they are occupying council land without consent and are usually required to vacate within 24 hours.”
“If they do not vacate an application is made to the County Court for a Possession Order and the notice of hearing is then served on the travellers.”
“Under court rules, travellers must be given three clear days’ notice of the hearing, not including the day that the notice was served, the day of the hearing and not including week-ends or bank holidays; which is why is takes at least a week to move them on.”
“If they do not vacate, the Council attends the court hearing and seeks an Order for Possession Forthwith. This is then usually served on the travellers the same day with the instruction that they vacate within 24 hours. If they still do not vacate, the Police and Bailiffs are called in to assist with the removal.”
Burnham-On-Sea MP James Heappey added: “I have contacted Sedgemoor District Council and they have assured me legal staff have visited the site, and are planning to issue a notice for the travellers to move on unless there are any mitigating circumstances.”
“I will be seeking a further update tomorrow morning. There is no excuse for illegal encampments and I trust that this one will be moved on as quickly as possible. Sedgemoor’s speed of response shows that Burnham-On-Sea and the surrounding area will be much more difficult for travellers to illegally encamp this summer.”
“Local residents need to see that travellers are not above the law and that our local authorities are exercising the powers they have quickly to minimise disruption.”