Dealing with encampments can be difficult, because some travelling groups can afford good lawyers and the relevant legislation is quite complex. The Council has to play things “by the book”. Injunctions do not come into force for several days, they only last for three months and they only apply to the current site, so it is possible for travellers to move from site to site in rotation.

Unauthorised encampment on Burley Village Green 29 April 2011

To be honest, we have seen much worse than this. A group that camped on the Archie Gordon sports field a few years ago were burning PVC cable over open fires to recover the copper cores, and the notorious Jack Lane encampment in the 1980's left the surrounding area litterally splattered with human faeces. These were the exceptions, not the rule. Even well organised family events like the Kirkstall Festival will generate several skip loads of rubbish and Woodhouse Moor after a warm day is not a pretty sight. This group produced a similar amount of waste to many ordinary families, but left much of it lying on the ground.

Monday 2 May 2011 - they have gone, but leaving quite a mess behind them

There's the rub: a nomadic lifestyle is no longer sustainable in a densely populated city. Living together in cities requires compromises and adjustments, like refuse collections and paying tax - and not leaving broken glass on kickabout areas. Encampments normally move on the day before any Court Order comes in to effect. This group have moved twice already within our local area, from the Willow Sheltered Housing scheme to the back of the "Rising Sun" and then again to Burley Village Green.

We will meet with the Council's legal officers in early May to look at various alternative options to the current game of "cat and mouse". In the meantime we have appended some of the recent email activity, which shows Leeds City Council in action:

From: Illingworth, Cllr John
Sent: 26 April 2011 17:13
To: Canavan, Stephen; and 30 other recipients.
Cc: 8 local councillors with similar issues in their wards
Subject: RE: Unauthorised Encampment Update

Local residents tell me that in the last few minutes the Kirkstall travellers have moved onto Burley Village Green. We think it is the same lot that were at Wolseley Road but we are not yet sure of this. Burley Village Green is a valued area of Public Open Space and urgent action is needed to move these travellers to a more suitable location.

John Illingworth

From: Gruen, Cllr Peter
Sent: 27 April 2011 11:28
To: Cook, Liz
Cc: Illingworth, Cllr John
Subject: FW: Unauthorised Encampment Update


Any news please?



Councillor Peter Gruen
Chief Whip of Leeds City Council
Executive Board Member for Neighbourhoods and Housing
Civic Hall
Leeds LS1 1UR

From: Cook, Liz
Sent: 27 April 2011 12:05
To: Gruen, Cllr Peter; McCartney, Robert
Cc: Illingworth, Cllr John; Evans, Neil
Subject: Unauthorised Encampment

Dear Cllrs

It does appear that the travellers from Wolseley Road have now encamped on Burley Village Green.

The team will do the needs assessment today with a view to making a decision on toleration / alternative land later today.

We will confirm following the assessment but our current assumption is that they are the same 16 caravans.

The earliest we can get to court is next Thursday and one of the issues relating to the site is that we believe it is used to locate a polling station so this may present a number of issues for voters next Thursday; therefore we are working with the Police to assess the use of section 61 powers to remove the travellers.

We will ensure you are updated by the end of the day.

Thanks Liz

From: XXXXXX, Heather
Sent: 27 April 2011 15:34
To: Atha, Cllr Bernard; Yeadon, Cllr Lucinda; Illingworth, Cllr John
Subject: Travellers update


Councillor Gruen has asked me to inform you that the Council intends to go to court tomorrow with the intention of gaining an order for the travellers to be evicted next Tuesday. If this is unsuccessful then the Council will ask the Police to use powers under Section 61 to remove the travellers from the site anyway.

Kind regards


Heather XXXXXX
Senior Support Officer - Research
Democratic Services
Labour Group Office
4th Floor East
Civic Hall

From: Cook, Liz
Sent: 27 April 2011 17:14
To: Gruen, Cllr Peter; Illingworth, Cllr John
Cc: Evans, Neil; McCartney, Robert
Subject: RE: Unauthorised Encampment

Dear Cllrs,

We have secured a court hearing at 10am tomorrow and aim to secure an eviction date of next Tuesday; should they not leave prior to this date.

We have asked Electoral Services to highlight any other polling station sites that could be vulnerable to an encampment.

Thanks Liz

Liz Cook

Chief Officer Statutory Housing
Environment & Neighbourhoods Directorate
4th Floor West
Merrion House
110 Merrion Centre

From: McCartney, Robert
Sent: 28 April 2011 13:06
To: Gruen, Cllr Peter; Illingworth, Cllr John
Cc: Cook, Liz
Subject: Burley Village Green - Traveller Encampment

Dear Cllr Gruen/Cllr Illingworth,

We were successful in obtaining an eviction order at court today and the eviction will take place on Tuesday. If you have any further queries then please let me know.


Rob McCartney,
Head of Housing Support,
Housing Services

From: Illingworth, Cllr John
Sent: 03 May 2011 11:55
To: Flesher, Sean; Evans, Neil
Cc: Atha, Cllr Bernard; Yeadon, Cllr Lucinda
Subject: Burley Village Green clean up

Dear Sean & Neil

As you may already be aware, the travellers group who have been camping on Burley Village Green moved off on Monday afternoon.

There is a fair amount of refuse and litter that needs picking up, plus some broken glass bottles near the mini pitch which could injure players.

The horse droppings are biodegradable, but some are offensive and may also need clearing away. There are also some Leylandii trimings near the trees.

Please could we try to clear the area quickly, before the litter gets blown around and the glass gets ground into the surface?

John Illingworth

By evening the site had been cleared.

Last updated 6 September 2014 at 23:56. Back to the top

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