COUNCILLORS are keen to make sure 2019 does not see a repeat of last year’s struggles with illegal gypsy and traveller camps.

More than a dozen unauthorised camps sprung up on fields across Northwich in just a matter of weeks last year – with Cheshire West and Chester Council forced to deal with fly-tipping at each site.

Cllr Sam Naylor, Labour member for Winnington and Castle, is looking to set up a meeting with CWAC’s traveller team, Northwich Town Council and Cheshire Police in an effort to double down on the issue.

At a town council meeting on Monday, he said: “We need to make sure that we do everything possible to avoid a repeat of what took place in town last year – particularly in terms of protecting those vulnerable sites that we don’t want encampments to come onto this year.


“It is particularly relevant because there is not going, in the immediate term, to be a transit site that we can direct travellers to once they arrive. I think it is really important for all relevant agencies to work together to do everything possible to avoid what took place last year.”

Police officers can move gypsies and travellers off unauthorised camps immediately if local authorities have a transit site to direct them to.

Once a borough has a transit site, any gypsies and travellers who refuse to move from an unauthorised encampment have to leave the borough and cannot return for three months.

CWAC stepped up its efforts to open a transit site in Ellesmere Port last summer, but the plans were overturned following fierce local opposition.

That means the council will still have to apply for court orders to close down unauthorised camps – causing long delays.

Cllr Mitch Rowley, Northwich Town Council member for Witton, added: “It would be really good to avoid a repeat of last year. We should encourage the development of a [transit] site so that we do have somewhere to redirect travellers without the legal challenges that we can otherwise face.”