Court orders family to leave gypsy site
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal, Local Government
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A court has ordered a family to leave a gypsy site after setting up an unauthorised encampment.
Appearing at Manchester Magistrates' Court this week, Bridget Doran was accused of trespassing on the Duchy Road Caravan Park in Salford and occupying a plot without permission.
Doran and her family illegally moved on to the site in November last year without seeking permission from social landlord Salix Homes, which manages the site on behalf of Salford City Council.
The court heard how the family had moved another family’s caravan off an occupied plot in order to park their own caravan.
Salix Homes served a Notice of Unauthorised Encampment on Doran on 6 December but the family failed to leave.
Since Salix took over the management of the site from Irish traveller and TV personality Paddy Doherty in 2011, it has worked closely with the gypsy and traveller community to improve the standard of living. The housing provider operates a strict allocations policy and has a long waiting list of families wishing to move on to the site.
Doran was informed that she had not followed the correct procedure and was required to join the waiting list if the family wished to live on the site. Salix's housing officers also offered the family assistance to find an available plot at other sites in Manchester and Bolton, but Doran refused all help.
Magistrates ruled that Doran had failed to follow the correct procedures and concluded that she was in fact trespassing. She was served with a notice by the court to vacate the site by the end of this week.
Sue Sutton, Salix's director of customer and neighbourhood services, said: “We welcome the magistrates’ decision to order Bridgette Doran and her family to leave the Duchy Road Caravan site.
“Since Salix Homes took over management of the site three years ago, we have greatly improved conditions for families living at the site and there is now real integration with other communities in the area. Plots are now highly sought after and we have a long waiting list and a strict allocations procedure in place.
“The magistrates ruled that Salix Homes had followed the correct procedures throughout this case and we offered assistance to help the family find an alternative site elsewhere. While we sympathise with the family involved, unauthorised gypsy encampments can have a negative impact on the rest of the community and Salix Homes takes this issue very seriously. We hope this case serves as a warning to others that we will take action against anyone who chooses not to comply with our tenancy rules.”
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