As you may already be aware there are a group of Travellers back on Bedquilts. The chronology of the situation is as follows:
- I notified the Police, Leeds University (LU), Beckett University( BU), Parks & Countryside and the Traveller Service (TS) at the Council just before 4pm today.
- 4.02pm BU advise me they were not aware of any problem, but they would investigate.
- 4.06pm The Operational Manager at the Travellers Service at the Council advised me:
- “My team visited the Brownlee Centre [cycle track at Bodington] today and there were 10/11 caravans still present. As noted by the PWA Sergeant in the email below this land is owned by the university who agreed to instruct a bailiff for removal if the group did not leave today as agreed.
- We are unsure if this group have moved to Bedquilts or if it is another group, we can check in the morning and advise everyone. It’s my understanding that apart from a very small section this area is also owned by the university. I will make contact with them and update you all tomorrow.”
- 4.07pm BU advise: “The Brownlee Centre is owned by the University of Leeds but much of the land at Bedquilts is owned by Leeds Beckett University. If they are on that land then we will have to instruct separately.”
- 4.10 I email and ask the Police and the Council to attend ASAP.
- 4.18 TS confirm “Thank you (BU) will you be instructing the bailiffs within the next day or two? . I have since been advised that this is a separate group from those still located on the Brownlee Centre. We will visit tomorrow with West Yorkshire Police anyway so to understand who the group are, I will update you. I assume any activity that the Police need to monitor will be completed as required tonight, I will liaise with PC Stephens to confirm.”
- 4.18 The Police confirm “The university officer-PC Hurrell has been coordinating patrols with support from Neighbourhood Policing Team colleagues. This will continue and I believe bailiffs are present now with university staff requesting removal.”
- 4.21 The Police advise: “I can confirm the site will be monitored as appropriate by the police overnight until a joint visit is conducted tomorrow.”
- 4.32 BU confirm: “We now have confirmation that they are on our site at Bedquilts. We had a member of staff there for a period of time, but he has since moved for safety reasons. We will take action in the morning to progress legal action, but I suspect the numbers may grow between now and then if the group at the Brownlee Centre become aware of this new site.”
- 5.58 The Police confirm: “I have just spoken with PC King who is going to conduct a site visit this evening and ensure attention is paid overnight. A site visit to conduct a needs assessment will take place with PC Stephens and the Council in the morning.”
At this stage no confirmation has been received as to how they managed to access the site nor have I received any further updates since the last one above. I have made the decision to issue this update at this stage. I will continue to keep you advised of any further updates I receive.