Six eviction notices handed to campers

One of the larger  encampments that was served an eviction notices
One of the larger encampments that was served an eviction notices

Six separate eviction notices have been issued in the space of six weeks to people camping illegally at the Water Meadows in Leighton Buzzard.

The problem – which has escalated in the warmer summer months, has promoted Leighton-Linslade Town Council to issue a newsletter alerting all its members to the headache.

One member of the public, who has raised concerns about the site, said: “There has been a tent pitched there for the last couple of months at least with the occupant not being very discerning where they carry out their ablutions.

“Surely something should be done to maintain this lovely green space?”

Councillor Mark Freeman has posted an extract of the newsletter online.

It said: “Over the past six weeks officers have issued six separate eviction notices as a result of breaches to our bylaws all relating to encampments.

“The most recent of these resulted in the grounds team clearing an encampment from the Water Meadows this morning.

“Not only have the team cleared the site they also collected a large quantity of both used sharps and drug paraphernalia.”

Ian Haynes, head of grounds and environmental services at Leighton-Linslade Town Council, told the LBO : “There was a number of encampments varying in different sizes from a couple who said they were on a pilgrimage, to larger groups of people, they have all moved on now.

“It is not a regular problem but we do see more people in the summer because the weather is warmer.

“I am unaware if the people were homeless, we serve them the eviction notice as we have to by our bylaw.”

Following criticism that since taking over the land from The Greensand Trust the council appeared to be no longer maintaining it and it was now “a wilderness”, Mr Haynes also revealed that the council plans to have cattle on the flood meadows soon

He said: “It is a flood land so it is more natural and will not be as well kept as some of the other areas in the town.

“But with the amount of rain we have had this year we have seen more growth in that area than usual and it is longer than we would like it to be.

“We have got a new grazier and we are hoping to have cattle back on the site soon.”