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Council moves to prosecute Smithy Fen illegal landlords

By Ben Comber

South Cambs Council scdc headquarters building
South Cambs Council scdc headquarters building

Court action is being taken against the landlords of a travellers' site in Cottenham after they failed to remove illegal caravans and static homes.

South Cambridgeshire District Council announced its decisions today (Tuesday, August 1), saying it had already issued breach of planning condition legal notices to both the landlords and occupants of 22 pitches at Smithy Fen at the beginning of July.

Enforcement officers will start visiting the site today to establish who has failed to comply with the notice, gathering the information needed to take the case to magistrates’ court.

Cllr Nick Wright, deputy leader, said: “We are targeting the landlords who are renting the illegal caravans and are taking an equally tough stance against the people living there who have ignored our breach of planning condition legal notice.

“There are around 15 families at the site who had been identified as potentially vulnerable and I’m pleased that most of these are working with us to find somewhere else to live. We will not be taking further legal action against these people for the next six weeks as we support them to move on.”

The council said it has continued to monitor activity at the site during the last four weeks to confirm some caravans, which were on the site illegally, have already moved on. But, it added, a full assessment is needed over the coming days to identify the current breaches of planning in relation to the notices issued.

During an initial investigation, council officers found some non-travellers living at the site, which it says was another breach of the planning conditions.

Notices gave 28 days for the illegal caravans and static homes to be removed and for non-travellers to leave. The 28 days expires at the end of today.


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