Legal loophole could see travellers evicted from beauty spot car park after eight years (From Falmouth Packet)
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Legal loophole could see travellers evicted from beauty spot car park after eight years
10:00am Friday 9th May 2014 in News
Traveller vehicles that have blighted a beauty spot car park for eight years could be moved on within 28 days if a legal loophole is proven.
St Keverne Parish Council is looking into whether it would be able to evict the travellers from Coverack’s North Corner car park, if it became tenants.
Cornwall Council, which owns the land, is unable to do so because it has a duty of care to the travellers – but a question mark hangs over whether the same would be true of the parish.
Councillor Anthony Richards said: “Can we find out the legal situation as to us being tenants and evicting them ourselves?
“Just because Cornwall Council has a legal obligation to find sites, if we did lease it, it might be a different story.”
After hearing the parish’s county representative Walter Sanger was looking into this he added: “I would like for us to find out ourselves – is there another avenue we could explore?”
Clerk Mrs Hatton said she was asking Cornwall Council’s solicitor whether the parish had the same duty of care to the travellers as the unitary authority, but had yet to hear back.
If it didn’t, the travellers could potentially be evicted within 28 days.
Members heard that Cornwall Council had money for a dedicated traveller site, but it had to be spent by April 2015.
The parish council had been asked by a resident living behind the car park to “put pressure” on Cornwall Council to get the money spent, before it was withdrawn next April.
Clerk Grace Hatton said the unitary authority was meant to have different sites in mind, but it had yet to announce the locations.
Chairman Roger Combe reminded members that the parish was supposed to have received a report from Cornwall Council last October saying what was being done about identifying replacement sites and moving the travellers.
Councillor Bill Frisken said: “I think we want to put pressure on them, even if just to say we understand there’s money available until next year.”
He described the top section of the car park, which is in three levels, as now “absolutely chock-a-block” with mobile homes, claiming: “They’re not mobile homes, they’re not travellers – they don’t travel.”
Mr Frisken added: “There are so many mobile homes on the top part of the car park the travellers are having to park their vehicles – the ones that actually move – down on the next stage, taking up even more room in the car park.
“The people in the parish are just getting heartily fed up with it.”
Councillors agreed to write a letter pushing the county’s legal team for an answer, with Mr Frisken pointing out: If we asked the legal department at Cornwall Council about this then they jolly well ought to answer. That’s what they’re paid for!”
The travellers have been living on the car park since August 2006.
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