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North Norfolk District Council write to Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, following Cromer chaos

PUBLISHED: 15:02 24 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:02 24 August 2017

Sajid Javid. Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Sajid Javid. Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

The North Norfolk District Council have written to Secretary of State Sajid Javid, calling for greater powers to be given to authorities so that they can remove unauthorised encampments more quickly.

More than two dozen motorhomes set up camp in Runton Road car park in Cromer. Picture: Ally McGilvrayMore than two dozen motorhomes set up camp in Runton Road car park in Cromer. Picture: Ally McGilvray

The letter, written by council leader Tom FitzPatrick, asks for strengthened powers and sanctions so that unauthorised encampments can be immediately moved on by councils, without the authority needing to seek a court order.

The letter comes after a weekend of chaos, where a group of travellers based at Runton Road car park swept through the seaside town shoplifting, drinking, and intimidating the public.

The council implored Mr Javid for his support to prevent further issues, writing: “I hope you will appreciate that in an area so dependant upon tourism the weekend’s events described have generated significant concern amongst the local community and tourist visitors.”

The council also alluded to their fears that not only would businesses suffer a financial loss because of the events, but may also continue to see less tourists in the area.

They wrote: “The majority of licensed businesses and some shops closed early on Saturday evening, with some remaining closed on Sunday. This situation has no doubt caused financial loss at what, for them, would have been one of the busiest weekends of the year.”

“It is feared that the media coverage of the events in the town might also deter other visitors from coming to the town and wider area over the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend.”

North Norfolk has been accustomed to dealing with the issues of settlers inhabiting unauthorised land.

They wrote: “Ten years ago North Norfolk District Council provided two Temporary Stopping Place facilities in its area. These facilities were developed in response to an historic pattern of seasonal encampments where the travelling community occupied areas of open land.”

However, when asked to move on to one of these areas, travellers refused the offer from Out of Hours council officers.

The letter added: “Officers visited the car park and identified that this presence was likely to cause community tension, and advised that the group should move on to the Temporary Stopping Place adjoining the District Council’s offices and the town’s police station. The group refused.”

The letter concluded by inviting the MP to Cromer, so that he might “better understand the particular issues that authority faces, and the facilities the Council has previously provided in seeking responsibly to manage unauthorised encampments which occur in the district.”

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