Central Bedfordshire Council has gained an injunction banning eleven named individuals from setting up unauthorised encampments anywhere in Central Bedfordshire over the next two years.
This is on the back of a really difficult summer in 2017, where these individuals and their families moved from site to site across Central Bedfordshire, causing disruption such as anti-social behaviour and large clean-ups which impacted on local communities.
Over the last year, Central Bedfordshire Council has undertaken a huge amount of work to secure council-owned land, including installing height barriers, bunding, ditches and strengthening gates.
The council has also been advising private landowners on suitable measures to take on their land. Additionally, they have been liaising with Highways England to strengthen the prevention measures at Junction 12 of the M1.
However, in some areas it is more difficult to block access against unauthorised encampments. For this reason, the injunction also stops any unauthorised encampments on specific parcels of land in Ridgmont, Husborne Crawley, Brogborough, Salford, Lidlington, Marston Moretaine, Lower Shelton and Wootton.
Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “We have been listening to the concerns of members of the public, and we have been working hard to tackle the problem of unauthorised encampments.
“So far, the prevention works have been successful in reducing unauthorised encampments. This year, we’ve seen a 55% reduction on council-owned land and a 26% reduction in encampments across all land in Central Bedfordshire*.
“The injunction will help us further by acting as a deterrent but also anyone who breaks the injunction faces the threat of arrest if they do not leave a site immediately when asked to.
“We are not able to apply for a blanket injunction to prevent all unauthorised encampments across the whole of Central Bedfordshire. But this injunction sends out a clear message that we’re taking strong and decisive action against unauthorised encampments.’
In relation to specific parcels of land, the injunction covers the following sites from all unauthorised encampments:
Cricket pavilion in Marston Moretaine
Long verge on C94 near to Wood End, Marston Moretaine
Verge on one-way section of Woburn Rd, Marston Moretaine
Marston Moretaine village green
Hoo Lane, Wootton Green (Marston Parish)
Bridleway and nature reserve, Ridgmont
The Old Salford Road, Brogborough (two sites)
Verge on C94 by Lidlington lake
Verges at junction of A4012 Mill Rd and Station Rd, Ridgmont
Land off A507 Stotfold
Land off C94 Lidlington
Highways England land off Wood End
Land off C94 between Brogborough and Marston Moretaine
Highways England land off Lower Shelton Road, Marston Moretaine
Rose and Crown Public House, Ridgmont
Court House – Dunstable – Site blocked and bunded. Joint work with Assets Team
Grove Theatre – Dunstable – Height barriers installed
Skimpot Lane – Dunstable – Concrete blocks installed, purchased using reserve fund
Woodside Link Road – Houghton Regis – Protection works in conjunction with Highways Team
Go Bowling – Dunstable – Height barriers installed – Go Bowling paid half whilst other half was used from reserve fund
Newlands Road – Westoning – Bunded with help from local farmer
Bellsbrook – Biggleswade – Gate repaired and strengthened using reserve fund
C94 Verge – Marston Moretaine – Verge ploughed with help from local farmer
One way section verge – Marston Moretaine – Verge bunded with help from local farmer
Bridleway and nature reserve – Ridgemont – Bunding and ditching work completed
Old Salford Road – Brogborough – Bunding work completed using reserve fund and assistance from Pro-Logis
Verge – Lidlington – Bunding work using reserve fund
Verges at Mill Road and Station Road – Ridgmont – Bunding work using local company, enhanced using reserve fund.
Brewers Hill Car Park – Dunstable – Welding work to pre-existing height barrier using reserve fund.
B430 Lay-by – Kempston (CBC area only) – Bunding work, Waste Team covered cost.
Verges at High Street and Ireland Road – Southill – Bunding work conducted on our behalf by Southill Estates.
Old Baldock Road – Salford – Bunding work, soil purchased from reserve fund and bund built by local JCB operator. New gate installed at entrance, provided by Highways Team