Lib Dem run Richmond Council has started legal proceedings to evict a group of travellers who have taken over Kew Green in the leafy Richmond district of London, despite the party opposing a new law in Westminster that would give cops enhanced powers to break up illegal encampments on private property.
The travellers arrived on Thursday night and refused to move on when confronted by cops on Friday, forcing the council to seek legal remedy and free up the public space for local residents.
Snaps obtained by the Daily Mail today show the 12-caravan strong traveller camp and capture scenes of the travellers confronting security guards who had been called in to dismantle wooden posts.
Local Lib Dem councillor Julia Neden-Watts has warned enraged locals that “due to a recent court ruling, this process will not be as fast as residents would like and I know that they will be concerned, but we have to work within the law.
“As soon as the travellers leave, we will inspect the area and ensure that any damage is repaired, and waste removed. Our Park Guard officers, along with the Police, will be monitoring the site closely until the group depart.”
Ironically, the Liberal Democrats in Westminster have opposed the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that would give police new powers to seize the vehicles of, and break up, illegal encampments – claiming that it is a “protest crackdown law”.
This site reported on January how the plans would create a new criminal offence for intentional trespass on private property, and would give the police enhanced powers to seize vehicles and cuff culprits – with potential penalties including three months in the slammer or a fine of £2,500.
Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council has a whopping 39 seat Liberal Democrat majority, on a council of just 54 seats.