Temporary winter stopping place identified for travellers in Bury St Edmunds as court grants injunctions to prevent further encampments

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A temporary winter stopping place has been identified for a family of travellers who have been pitching up on sites around Bury St Edmunds for the last nine months.

A small piece of land, part of a former highway, will be made available near the railway bridge off Ortewell Road - on the Great Barton side of the boundary with Motreton Hall, St Edmundsbury Borough Council has confirmed.

The stopping place is for a defined period of time and conditions such as the number of caravans will be imposed while the travellers will pay a weekly fee for temporary toilets and waste collection.

Meanwhile, the council has been granted pre-emptive injunctions by the High Court which prevent any travellers from illegally camping on council-owned town centre car parks and Moreton Hall open spaces.

They cover Ram Meadow, St Andrews, Parkway surface, School Yard East and West and Cattle Market/arc car parks as well as Moreton Hall green spaces.

The notices are expected to be posted today and travellers will be in contempt of court and may be sent to prison, fined or have their assets seized if they move on to one of them and they can be immediately removed.

Cllr Anne Gower, St Edmundsbury Cabinet member for housing, said: “A tolerated stopping place gives us an opportunity to allow only the core members of the family, who have lived and worked in the borough for more than a year, to have a temporary place to stay over the winter months.”

She added the temporary stopping place will be actively monitored to ensure the conditions are met.

Cllr Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council Cabinet member for Localities, said: “This decision has been made following a case conference under the Suffolk Protocol for managing unauthorised encampments. Working together, all the agencies involved have agreed it is the best possible temporary place. I can reassure everyone that we have carefully assessed the risks and there will be tight controls, as well as regular monitoring, in place.”

For more details see Friday’s Bury Free Press.