Travellers to be told to leave Beach Lawns

PUBLISHED: 14:03 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:03 17 September 2019

Trvallers have pritched up on Weston's Beach Lawns. Picture: Gareth Newnham

Trvallers have pritched up on Weston's Beach Lawns. Picture: Gareth Newnham

Gareth Newnham

Travellers have parked up on Weston's Beach Lawns yards from where a new comedy mini-series is being filmed.

Trvallers have pritched up on Weston's Beach Lawns. Picture Lily Newton-BrowneTrvallers have pritched up on Weston's Beach Lawns. Picture Lily Newton-Browne

Eight caravans arrived on the site yesterday (Monday) afternoon.

MORE: Filming for new comedy mini series begins in Weston.

North Somerset Council's deputy leader Mike Bell said on Facebook: "I've received reports of an unauthorised encampment on Beach Lawns of caravans and vehicles.

"I've raised this issue with the police and council officers to ensure that the combined response is as good as it can be.

"Unfortunately, the rules are not very flexible as unauthorised camping is not a criminal offence. Trespass is a civil offence, giving landowners and local authorities the right to repossess their property using the due process of law.

"The police have some additional powers, but their primary duty in law is to preserve the peace and prevent crime.

"The police will visit the site and in certain circumstances may use powers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 if they consider the occupants are trespassing on the land.

"These powers will only be used in situations of serious criminality or public disorder not capable of being addressed by normal criminal legislation and in which the occupation of the land is a relevant factor.

"It is for the police alone to decide if Section 61 is to be utilised in any situation.

"I've been working with council officers to better secure land where practical including our public parks, but in the case of the Beach Lawns and other open land, it's much more difficult."

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said: "There are eight caravans and associated towing vehicles on the Beach Lawns.

"We carried out welfare checks yesterday and will be serving them with a notice to quit the site today."

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