24th Oct, 2016

Solihull MP Julian Knight is pushing for changes in the law to allow private landowners to evict gypsies

Solihull Editorial 30th Sep, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

SOLIHULL MP Julian Knight is calling for changes in the law to allow private landowners to evict travellers once a court has decided they should be moved on.

His bid to protect communities from illegal camps follows the difficulty a Shirley landlord has had in securing a court date to evict gypsies who have pitched camp behind the Audi garage on the Stratford Road in Shirley.

The unwanted guests set up camp on the site last Monday (September 19) and since then there have been reports of theft and vandalism from a coffee shop and cars being damaged by children throwing rocks at them.

As the travellers are on private land behind the Audi garage the Council is not obliged to set into motion the necessary steps to remove them from the land – that’ process is the responsibility of the landowner.

MP Mr Knight said: “Anti-social behaviour is unacceptable, as is damage to property.

“I would like to see better access to the courts for law-abiding private landlords and when the courts grant evictions it should take 12 hours, not the current 48.

“In my opinion the law is currently slanted too heavily against landlords and the wider community in favour of travellers and their illegal incursions.”

Mr Knight’s team has made several visits to the site and he is in constant contact with the police and local authorities to make sure residents’ concerns are properly represented, both regarding this camp and the new one in Monkspath Hall Road car park.

A Solihull Council Spokesperson said: “The Council is aware there are travellers on site at the rear of the Audi garage on the Stratford Road.

“Council officers are working closely with colleagues from the police alongside the land owner to ensure that the process of assisting the Travellers in leaving the site is accelerated this week.”

* ANOTHER group of gypsies are refusing to move out away from Monkspath Hall Road Car Park despite being handed a notice from the Council.

A total of 30 caravans alongside various other vehicles set up camp on Sunday night (September 25).

Solihull Council said a notice was issued on Monday which required the group to move on by Tuesday morning.

However at the time of going to press The Observer had been told the group were still there and the Council was going through the legal process to get them removed.