Travellers move onto Hackney Marsh after £1,000 threat
PUBLISHED: 08:50 12 March 2014 | UPDATED: 08:50 12 March 2014
A group of Travellers who were warned they could be liable for a £1,000 fine if they remained on Mabley Green have moved their caravans 200 metres away onto Hackney Marshes.
Hackney Council served the group with a letter telling them they were committing a criminal offence, after about 20 mobile homes and cars parked on the parkland on Friday.
Cllr Sophie Linden, deputy mayor of Hackney, said: “It is believed this is the same group who occupied a nearby area in December, which means they are violating a court order obtained by the council to prevent them from re-entering the land for three months.”
The council instructed bailiffs – but before action was taken they moved onto Hackney Marshes on Tuesday and set up an unauthorised camp near the river on the South Marsh.
It is believed they gained entry by knocking over a bollard.
A spokesman for the council said they are now considering what steps to take next.
She said: “If the travellers refuse to leave voluntarily, the council will seek a court injunction requiring them to leave.”
A large pile of polystyrene and plastic waste was spotted on the north side of the marsh on Tuesday too.
Caroline Day, spokeswoman for Save Lea Marshes, which campaigns to retain the Marsh as a green space, is concerned incidents like this could become a regular occurrence in future if the council’s plan to reintroduce parking on the land goes ahead.
The council wants to build a 70-space car park on the Marshes, with access from Cow Bridge in Lower Clapton.
Ms Day said: “Until Hackney Marshes is secured from vehicles, we are likely to see more of the horrible industrial fly-tipping like we saw on Tuesday morning on the edge of the north marsh. It is obviously unsightly and harmful to wildlife.
“The council is making it easy for people to get on here with vehicles, but they should do everything possible to prevent vehicles being able to access the marsh to avoid the type of damage inflicted as a result of sanctioned mega-events like the Radio 1 Hackney Weekend festival, or illegal activity like the horrendous illegal fly-tipping that destroyed Mabley Green meadow in December.”
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