Travellers to get marching orders from Whitehouse Park, Ipswich

Travellers on Whitebouse Park.

Travellers on Whitebouse Park. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich council is preparing to launch legal action at the end of the week to force travellers off Whitehouse Park.

The authority will be going to court on Friday to seek an order forcing the travellers to leave the park.

But the situation has provoked a political row with borough council leader David Ellesmere blaming the county for putting off making a decision on temporary travellers’ sites in Suffolk last year.

That has made it more difficult to get court orders because the travellers have nowhere legal to go in the short term.

The council is also expected to seek an order to move on another group of travellers that have moved on to the Ipswich Village car park on West End Road – although that move is still in its early days.

Mr Ellesmere said the county’s decision to abandon a search for temporary travellers’ sites across Suffolk last year had made it more difficult to get court orders.

“If there is no legal site for them to move to in the area, the process takes more time. I warned this would happen when the county tried to put off the decision last year – and now we’re left picking up the bill.

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“The lengthy legal costs can get quite high. I hope the new leader of the county council gets on with looking for new sites – it’s us who are suffering this week, but it could be any of the other districts in the county next week.”

The travellers who have moved on to the Ipswich Village car park are believed to have arrived in the town after leaving Colchester.

They are on one section of the car park, but the rest of the park remains open and is as busy as usual – it is a popular car park for rail passengers.

Suffolk County Council has staff who are responsible for travellers’ issues and a spokeswoman for the authority said they were aware of the issues that had arisen in Ipswich.

A spokesman said the consultation was not halted by the county council alone – it was a decision of leaders of all authorities in Suffolk.

He said: “The Leaders of all Suffolk Councils and Suffolk Constabulary have stated their commitment to work together to identify appropriate short term stopping sites for gypsies and travellers.

“Following a review of the consultation on the provision of sites that was undertaken last year, the Leaders agreed that more time was needed to consider and develop the way in which this is moved forward.”