MP wants city to stop "soft touch" approach to travellers

Travellers in Wilson Avenue earlier this month

Travellers in Wilson Avenue earlier this month

First published in News

An MP has called for his city to stop being seen as a “soft touch” for travellers.

Simon Kirby wants Brighton and Hove City Council officers to be more pro-active in calling in the police to move on travellers from unauthorised encampments.

Mr Kirby made the call following a meeting yesterday with the Brighton Police Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp.

The Brighton Kemptown MP said his constituents were “rightly fed up” with the frequent unauthorised traveller encampments.

He said: “I immediately take up any reports I receive with the police and the city council but I am not only looking for swifter eviction but also a clear signal to be sent to traveller groups that Brighton is no longer the soft touch that so many think it is.

“In my discussions it became clear to me that the city council needs to reconsider its policies, especially regarding welfare checks, so that unauthorised encampments can be moved on more quickly.”

At the time of Mr Kirby’s announcement, a group of Irish Travellers and English Gypsies with 40 trailers remain encamped on land at Sheepcote Valley.

The council’s legal team is set to apply for a resumption of possession order for the land obtained earlier in the year to evict the group.

Similar legal procedures are also in place to remove 22 vehicles belonging to van dwellers on land adjacent to Racehill allotments off Wilson Avenue.

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