An injunction prohibiting a group of Travellers from staying on Stoke Newington Common has been secured by Hackney Council at the High Court.
Ironically the dispute occurs during Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month, during which Hackney council has organized “free events held to celebrate the history, culture and language of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities”.
However, the Council wants the McDonagh family, who have been living in caravans on Stoke Newington Common for several weeks, to leave by Thursday, June 21.
Councillor Sophie Linden, Cabinet Member for Crime, Sustainability and Customer Services, said:”Hackney’s parks and open spaces are for all residents and visitors to use and enjoy and we take a firm stance against any unauthorized encampments.”
“We have taken this action as a last resort because the group concerned have persistently set up unauthorised encampments on Hackney’s parks and open spaces over the past three years.”
The court case also comes after the Coalition government scrapped policies in 2010, which were introduced to develop new sites for Traveller communities as well as refurbishing existing sites.
Joseph G Jones, from The Gypsy Council, felt the treatment of the Traveller community was unacceptable: “The Government and council have made it so local Gypsies and Travellers have no place to go. If the council are going to send them away they have to make they have somewhere else to go.”
Linden responded: “The Council’s policy is to support the welfare needs of Traveller families. We currently have 27 pitches for Gypsies and Travellers on five different permanent sites – the third highest in inner London.”