Illegal encampment on GWP – Update II

There is currently a Poll running on our Facebook group to gauge the opinions of Residents.
Do you support plans to help prevent people setting up illegal encampments on the Public Open Spaces of GWP in the future? ” Yes or No. If you are unable to use Facebook to vote and are a Resident or work in GWP, please email chairperson@gwpra.org.uk to register your opinion before 7th May 2019 .

On Friday 26th April 2019, one of our District Councillors, Cllr. Ian Snowdon, organised a meeting with Matthew Barber, the deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley Police and I.

This was to look at measures to improve the current immediate response, the medium term response and long term.

Immediately

  1. Please report all criminal or antisocial behaviour to Thames Valley Police appropriately; evidence of breaches of the S61 conduct notices is required. (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/33/section/61) So if safe to do so, please include photographs or save CCTV footage to be used in evidence and make factual notes of the incident. If it is too lower level to report to the Police, but causing you harassment, alarm and distress please email chairperson@gwpra.org.uk with the details as above. Cllr. Ian Snowdon and I are collating all the community impact factors for future use.
  2. Please be extra vigilant for you and your neighbours and be aware that other criminal elements will potentially take advantage of the illegal encampment, to mask their own illegal activities.
  3. If you have any related animal or child welfare concerns please report to the RSPCA or Social Services.
  4. Matthew Barber is personally raising the issue with TVP Senior Officers, to ensure the response is stepped up and measures are in place ready to enforce the legal eviction.
  5. I appreciate it is very frustrating and difficult but please refrain from posting unhelpful or malicious comments but do share facts and information between the community, to allow us to protect ourselves from the adverse consequences of the illegal encampment.
  6. Ian Snowdon is organising the clean up plans for after they leave are in place, with the Developer and other authorities
  7. Ultimately this is the legal responsibility of the landowners, Taylor Wimpey, to arrange eviction. So if you have concerns or want to impress upon them the urgency of the problem, please email
    *oxfordshirecustomerservices@taylorwimpey.com and register your concerns.

Medium Term measures are to improve the “hardening” against further incursions, without spoiling the view. Residents will be involved in this process.

It is also to develop a rapid response plan, which involves all agencies, in order to deliver a high quality response in a timely manner. It will also include the clean up process and improved warning and intelligence sharing with neighbouring areas, to assist in preventing the encampments being able to be established. Ian Snowdon will endeavour to get SODC involvement in this process even prior to the adoption from Taylor Wimpey, which is over 3 years late already. Matthew Barber also stated it was his goal to arrange other practical measures, such a better provision of Transit Camps, in order to assist with resolving the issues.

Long term measures were also discussed and Matthew Barber was keen to get the legislation reviewed in Parliament around illegal encampments. This is in order to provide better legal protection to landowners, local authorities, the police and ultimately the local residents.

We are fortunate enough to live in a lovely part of Oxfordshire and naturally want to keep it that way. The GWPRA will update residents with any further information, hopefully you can be reassured that things are being done to resolve the situation now and help prevent it occurring again in the future.

Gareth

GWPRA Chairperson *Updated