Dukes Meadows Travellers served with eviction notice

Image above: Travellers camp at Dukes Meadows

This encampment is one of “a large number of incursions in the borough”

The group of Travellers who pitched camp at Dukes Meadows on Sunday (13 August) have been served with an eviction notice by Hounslow Council.

The unauthorised settlement with seven caravans and accompanying cars and vans on open land beside Riverside Drive was reported to the Council immediately they arrived but are still there five days later. During the week more caravans have arrived.

Cllr John Todd told The Chiswick Calendar he has received a lot of complaints about them using the hedgerow as a toilet and leaving rubbish in the nearby allotments.

LB Hounslow has a permanent site in Heston known as Hartlands where Travellers are supposed to camp, but Cllr Ajmer Grewal, Cabinet Member for Safety and Regulatory Services, told The Chiswick Calendar on Thursday:

“We are currently experiencing a large number of incursions in the borough, which is not uncommon for this time of year. This issue is treated as high priority, and resources are diverted accordingly.

“Officers in the enforcement team work seven days a week and will attend an encampment as soon as we are notified of their arrival.”

A group of Travellers who settled on Chiswick Back Common opposite Turnham Green tube station the previous week were served with eviction notices and moved on in little more than 24 hours, but not before they were reported to have stolen from local shops.

READ ALSO: Traveller group leave Chiswick Back Common

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust faced a substantial bill to cover the cleanup expenses after a group of about 50 Travellers settled in the grounds of Hammersmith Hospital in May, which included the removal of an abandoned caravan dumped on their premises.

Travellers have settled in Dukes Meadows before. They left a huge mess at the site of Barnes Hockey Club after a weekend party in May 2019, after which Hounslow Council attained a High Court injunction against Traveller encampments on council land throughout the borough, so that police would be able to move Travellers on much more quickly.

The leader of the Council at the time, Cllr Steve Curran, told us then that moving on the Travellers and clearing up after them costs Council Tax payers tens of thousands of pounds every year.

READ ALSO: Hounslow Council gets High Court injunction against Traveller encampments

On Thursday Cllr Grewal told us:

“When a Traveller encampment arrives in the borough on public land, officers from the Council are required to undertake welfare assessments of those on site, and ascertain whether there are any needs in terms of welfare and if necessary make appropriate referrals to key partners.

“We work closely with our colleagues and the police who will also attend site and issue those present with a Code of Conduct.

“As and when eviction is required, there is a legal process that must be followed, including ascertaining documentation from the magistrates court. This can take approximately a week to complete with a court hearing, and in some cases the council may need to enlist the services of bailiffs in order to move an encampment on.

“Any concerns regarding criminality associated with a traveller encampment should be reported to the police either via 101 or in an emergency via 999.”