Images above: the Christ Church encampment, LB Hounslow five day notice
LB Hounslow has given the homeless people camping beside Christ Church on Turnham Green five days to disperse with the threat of police eviction should they fail to comply.
A notice issued by the Council has been attached to one of the tents since Monday morning (11 April). The notice highlights which byelaws the camp violates. Hounslow’s Byelaw 8 and 9 restricts the erection of structures and camping on parks and open spaces/ council housing land.
While Turnham Green itself is public land, the bit immediately around the church belongs to Christ Church. Though the land is owned by the church, the open space is maintained by contractors hired by the council, which gives LB Hounslow authority to disperse the camp.
The people living at the site have so far turned down approaches by LB Hounslow’s Outreach team, charities and the church to persuade them to move elsewhere, indicating their intention to stay put.
The Chiswick Calendar has tried on multiple occasions to speak with the people camping at the site, to better understand their reasons for remaining put. Each time they have not been present. On Wednesday afternoon (13 April), all tents were unzipped and unoccupied for a number of hours. Closer inspection of the camp revealed the Council’s letter attached to one of the tents.
“Our priority is the safety and welfare of the people living in the tents” says Hounslow Council
The Council’s notice states any offenders not complying with the byelaws ‘may be removed by an officer of the Council or a Police constable’ and that the Council will seek to ‘recover all costs related to damages or the enforcing breach of byelaws.’
A Hounslow Council spokesperson said it was ‘not possible to say at this stage’ how much the occupants might be expected to pay, should they be physically moved on. They reiterated alternative accommodation has been offered and declined, with the occupants apparently preferring to remain in the tents.
The spokesperson added:
“Our priority is the safety and welfare of the people living in the tents. Hounslow Council has been supporting the church as they try to find a positive resolution to the unauthorised use of their land.
“Unfortunately both the Council and the Church’s attempts to persuade the occupants of the tents to leave have so far been unsuccessful and further action is now necessary to resolve the situation.
“The council and our partner agencies have attempted to engage with the adults in the tents and have offered shelter at an alternative location. We will continue to attempt to talk to the occupants of the tents.”
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