Calls to manage unauthorized traveler camps in Staffordshire


There have been calls for travelers to set up unauthorized camps in Staffordshire.

Community leaders are calling for cross-county action after caravans have been parked in a number of locations across Staffordshire this year.

Just last month, travelers spent around a week parked in the busy parking lot at Coopers Square shopping center, Burton, and where East Staffordshire Borough Council has been ordered to come.

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They also parked at other council-run car parks in Staffordshire, including Tape Street, Cheadle; Lidl in Tunstall; and Premier Inn parking in Stafford.

Police and local authorities responded to the incidents when they were reported.

But now members of the Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel have called for clearer guidance on how to deal with the camps.

Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Ben Adams said: ‘If all of our districts can approach this the same – and the town because there have been problems in Stoke-on-Trent this year – then the traveling community will know here is the rule of engagement in Staffordshire.

“My concern is that we approach this consistently and that the boards we work with understand our obligations and work within the law.”

Mr Adams also raised the issue of the current legal provision of the sites for members of the Gypsy and Itinerant communities in Staffordshire.

A number of local authorities lack designated sites and must now find suitable locations to meet their needs.

Mr Adams said: “Let’s keep in mind that we could do with a few more sites for travelers. It’s not my job, but I’ll point the finger at it because there is a legitimate commitment to providing safe places to go. that people stop.

“It’s different to be on someone’s private land and behave illegally.”

The other panel members representing other districts and boroughs in Staffordshire were also in favor of the inter-county measures.

Lichfield District Councilor Richard Cox said: “Recently we have had issues with travelers.

“We are working on a protocol on how we do this and this could be a protocol that could also be extended to parishes if they have travelers on their land.”

Councilor Ann Edgeller said Stafford Borough Council members had helped research more suitable sites for locations in the area.

County Councilor Philip Hudson, from East Staffordshire, said: “I have an issue that I am dealing with in Uttoxeter right now. What we need is policy and clear powers of each of the partners involved.

“The police got out first and said ‘it might be on the highway, it might be a dead end but it has nothing to do with us, contact your advisor. So ESBC (East Staffordshire Borough Council) has been contacted and it’s like ‘we don’t know what to do’ and in the end it’s up to the proactive General Council to deal with it.

“I’m taking care of it and our officers too who will get a solution. But we need a diagram of what happens if something happens, who takes care of it? If it’s on the highway, is- this the police or the county council? “

Stephen Doyle, Tamworth Borough Council member, said: “Tamworth would welcome a panel discussion across Staffordshire on how we approach the treatment of travelers or gypsies. We have already put in place measures to examine how we can better interact with people coming to the area.

“They are human beings, just like us. They may have a slightly different outlook on how they choose to live their lives because they choose to travel, but I welcome the idea of ​​having more sites. to welcome them and I fully support any measure that improves relations between us travelers and gypsies. “

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