Call for action as travellers occupy Gainsborough car park twice in one week

Local councillors want more to be done to tackle unauthorised encampments, particularly in Gainsborough town centre, after travellers settled in a car park twice in the space of a week.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Trevor Young said the appearance of travellers on the same car park twice in a few days “shows the weakness” of local authorities in tackling the issue.

Travellers occupied the Bridge Street Car Park from Thursday, July 14, to Saturday, July 16, and then again on Wednesday, July 20.

Coun Young said: “The council were assured it was a short stay and the travellers would be moving on, which they did. However, they can quite easily just pop into another car park and the process starts again which isn’t satisfactory.”

Calls have been made for more to be done to tackle unauthorised encampments

His main concern was the detrimental impact on local businesses from the town centre car park being taken up.

Paul Walker, a local resident also called for more to be done to tackle the issue. He said it had happened time and again and felt like authorities were not doing enough.

He said: “It’s like whack-a-mole. They pop up somewhere, [the authorities] sort it and then they pop up somewhere else.

“They turn up, leave all their rubbish, and deprive people of parking and leave all the clean up costs.”

There have been moves to block off sites such as West Lindsey District Council’s leisure centre already, but Mr Walker said the encampments just appeared elsewhere.

Inspector Gary Brockie from Lincolnshire Police’s West Lindsey Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Some encampments exist for a matter of days without notice, while others can be longer and more impactful.

“Contrary to popular belief, the police cannot ‘move on’ travellers.

“It is not a criminal offence, and the landowners can make use of certain laws to move groups on who are there without permission.

“Under the new legislation, the process calls for private land owners to use the powers open to them when evicting encampments.

“The new legislation gives police increased powers, and these powers will be used where significant damage, disruption or disorder is evidenced.”