Travellers at Northside - Statement from Tupton Parish Council

A number of misleading statements have been brought to the Parish Council's attention in regard to the recent eviction of the travellers from the North Side Recreation Ground.

We can confirm that neither Lee Rowley MP nor County Councillor Charlotte Cupit has contacted the Parish Council, neither has either Mr Rowley nor Cllr Cupit directly assisted the Parish Council during the eviction process.

The travellers forced entry onto the playing fields on Sunday afternoon. Cllr Hancock attended the site, as did representatives of Tupton RUFC and New Tupton Ivanhoe FC. They spoke with both the police and the travellers and then tried to secure as much of the two clubs' property as possible.

The land is owned by both NEDDC and Tupton Parish Council and, on Monday, the Parish Clerk, Cllr Hancock and Cllr Shipman were involved in numerous conversations with the police, Environmental Health officers and NEDDC's legal officers. An attempt was made to contact the Police and Crime Commissioner, who has yet to reply. Once the appropriate welfare checks had been undertaken by the Environmental Health team, and following advice from NEDDC's legal team, the Bailiffs were instructed.

On Tuesday, the members of the Parish Council were updated and approved to extend the scope of the Clerk's delegated authority, in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair, to undertake all necessary action to evict the travellers and to secure and cleanse the site.

Also on Tuesday, the Bailiffs served the notice of eviction on the travellers.

The Clerk conducted further discussions with NEDDC's legal team and the Council's insurance company – to establish whether a claim could be submitted in regard to the eviction costs incurred; and Cllr Hancock and Cllr Shipman continued their discussions with the police.

On Tuesday evening, Cllr Ramshaw, Cllr Hancock and the Clerk met virtually with representatives from Tupton RUFC and New Tupton Ivanhoe FC to update them on the progress to date and to open discussions on how to improve security to minimise the risk of future incursions.

Overnight, additional caravans arrived and the police were called out again. There was some damage to exterior property at the Rugby Club. At 10:38 PM the police updated Cllr Hancock.

On Wednesday morning, Cllr Ramshaw and representative of Tupton RUFC visited the recreation ground to report back on vehicle numbers. Cllr Shipman did a reconnaissance of the site in the afternoon.

The bailiffs were due to attend the grounds on Wednesday afternoon to enforce the eviction notice. However, that morning's job overran significantly; and, had they undertaken the eviction later on Wednesday, the concrete blocks would not have been available for delivery until Thursday morning – leaving the site exposed to further potential incursion on Wednesday night.

On Thursday morning, Cllr Ramshaw was instructed to self-isolate and so continued her involvement remotely.

The bailiffs attended the site at 8:00 AM on Thursday morning to enforce the eviction notice. The process lasted 10 hours, during which time they were assisted by armed police. During this time the police phoned Cllr Shipman to ask if there were any alternative sites in Tupton the travellers could use. Cllr Shipman refused the request. Both Cllr Shipman and Cllr Hancock attended the recreation ground at separate points during the afternoon.

At 5:30 PM the final two caravans were wheeled onto the garage area, to allow the concrete barriers to block the entrance to the Rugby Club Car Park and Playing Fields. Cllr Hancock returned to the site to meet with representatives from Tupton RUFC and New Tupton Ivanhoe FC to discuss the repair work that would be needed to secure the playing fields and to discuss the most appropriate means of minimising the risk of the recreation ground being accessed again. The final two vans left around 5:45 PM.

Throughout this the Parish Clerk liaised with Hardstaff Barriers to arrange collection of the concrete barriers on Tuesday and Orbis Protect to undertake the sanitisation of the site on Monday.

On Friday morning, volunteers from Tupton RUFC repaired and re-secured the existing gate to the playing fields and purchased an additional ram barrier to install over the weekend.

A further report was issued to all councillors, along with recommendations from the previous evening's meeting; and the Clerk continued her discussions with the insurers.

Various communications were exchanged between the Parish Clerk, Councillor Hancock, Orbis and Hardstaff to ensure that the environmental clean up takes place, without a hitch, on Monday and that the barriers are collected on Tuesday morning to ensure that Extreme Wheels can take place on Tuesday afternoon.

Just before 9:00 PM on Friday, a caravan attempted to enter the site and was deterred by the security barriers. The caravan was pursued by the police.

Throughout the week members of the Parish Councillors have been liaising with the community to keep them updated.

Should anyone require any further information please contact the Parish Clerk:

Posted: Sun, 01 Aug 2021 18:29 by Ruth Price

Tags: Community Activity, News, Reports