DCSIMG

Travellers cost Kirklees Council almost £20k this summer

COUNTING THE COST: Sands Lane playing fields in Dewsbury has become the latest site where travellers have set up camp. (d312b236)

COUNTING THE COST: Sands Lane playing fields in Dewsbury has become the latest site where travellers have set up camp. (d312b236)

TRAVELLERS setting up camps in Dewsbury and neighbouring towns this summer have cost the council almost £20,000.

Kirklees Council has taken legal action over 12 camps since June 8, with more action due next week over a 13th site. Its legal team will return to court on Monday to seek an order to clear Sands Lane playing fields.

The latest application will take the bill for court fees and officer time to around £19,500.

This does not include the cost of repairing any damage or cleaning up sites after the groups move on.

Coun Paul Kane (Lab, Dews East) said: “There’s a lot of damage caused when they get into an area and a lot of damage that’s left behind.

“There’s one answer to it and that’s to grasp the nettle and supply a campsite for them. We could move them off within 24 hours if we’ve got a campsite for them to go to.”

Currently, the council must apply for an eviction notice which orders the travellers to move within 48 hours.

Coun Kane said he had been speaking to other Dewsbury councillors about the issue, and about the powers of the council and police. He said he wanted the idea of a campsite investigated, even though he fought a proposed site near Shaw Cross.

“That wasn’t in our hands anyway – it was in Wakefield,” he said. “We fought again it because that wasn’t the right site, but I’m sure other are sites in Kirklees that are more suitable.”

 

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