24th Mar, 2019

Evicting travellers from Droitwich in June cost taxpayers more than £13,500

EVICTING the travellers from Droitwich’s Spring Meadow in June and securing the site has cost the taxpayer more than £13,500.

The figure has been revealed by Droitwich Town Council ahead of the next full meeting on Monday, September 24, when the issue will be discussed by members.

The travellers arrived on the site on June 15 and ignored an order served to them by the town council on their arrival.

It was thought there could be a lengthy court process ahead but then the police successfully applied for a Section 61 order after several incidents of anti-social behaviour by the group which had been congregating in several areas of the town.

Coun Bob Brookes said: “This has cost the good hard-working people of Droitwich a large amount when it could have been dealt with quicker.

“We were initially told there was nothing the police could do but we are better informed now and if it happens again we will be pressing officers to use the Section 61 powers available to them a lot sooner.”

For the legislation to be used the senior police officer at the scene must firstly believe two or more people are trespassing on the land, intending to reside there and that reasonable steps have been taken by the landowner to ask them to leave.

Secondly, there must be six or more vehicles on the site, damage has been caused to the land or to property on the land or threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour have been used towards the occupier or his family.

There were six vehicles on the site in Droitwich meaning the Section 61 could have been used in June.

“Had we done that earlier the cost would have been a lot less to the taxpayer,” added Coun Brookes.

Of the £13,547, a total of £1,199 was spent on solicitors’ fees and it cost £107 for Wychavon District Council’s environmental department to clean up the site after the travellers had left.

Fortifying the perimeter of the site, which included earth works and supplying and installing additional steel and concrete posts and hiring the machinery and the workers, cost £6,525.

Landscaping the area ruined by the travellers, including importing 120tonnes of graded top soil and hiring labour and machinery, left the authority with a bill of £3,715.

And reseeding the field with grass, including labour, cost an estimated £2,000.

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