New action to tackle unauthorised travellers sites in Hartlepool

Caravans parked at the Central Estate. Picture by FRANK REID

Caravans parked at the Central Estate. Picture by FRANK REID

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Councillors praised officers’ work in clearing an unauthorised traveller camp which was set up on a Hartlepool sports field.

Around 25 caravans and motorhomes descended on the Hartlepool Borough Council-owned playing fields known as Central Park on the Central Estate in April.

Their presence prompted a flurry of emails and phone calls, including from concerned residents.

The council considered taking legal action to move them, but instead officers and police liaised with the travellers about how long they intended to stay.

Councillor Jim Ainslie, who represents Headland and Harbour ward, said: “The way our officers handled this was extremely professional and efficient.

“There were a lot of emails and phone calls over those couple of days, but we went about it quietly.

“I think this is the way we need to handle these incidents in future.”

The council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee approved an updated policy for dealing with unauthorised traveller camps yesterday.

It was the first time it had been considered since 2004 and takes into account national guidance and new powers including the ability to seize vehicles on camps that are suspected of fly tipping and other waste offences.

The council’s community safety and engagement team will become its lead enforcers.