Police investigate as activity spotted on Lawrences Lane site in Thatcham
Thames Valley Police confirmed, on Monday (January 10), that unauthorised activity on a well-known travellers site in Thatcham was reported to them at the weekend, despite an ongoing injunction.
Since the development at the site on land at Lawrences Lane was spotted on August 13 of last year, it has attracted a lot of attention for disruption and its unsuitability for development.
On December 8, 2021 West Berkshire Council was granted an interim injunction which stated the defendants were not allowed to bring any portable structures onto the land in breach of planning control.
However, on January 9 (Sunday) a local walking in the area noticed a “convoy of caravans” at the gates of the site.
The individual, who wishes to remain anonymous, said there was “at least three caravans and two cars, probably five to 10 vehicles”.
They notified the police and the MP about what they had seen.
A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police said: "I can confirm that this has been reported to us and enquiries are ongoing."
The site was refused planning permission in an eastern area planning meeting on November 17, but the defendants have since lodged an appeal against refusal, which they have less than a month left to submit.
The continued injunction was granted by Margaret Obi sitting as a Judge of the High Court.
It also stated that no residential occupation is permitted, beyond that which was agreed in the previous order [five plots].
No waste, hardcore or similar material is allowed to be brought onto the land and no further works can be undertaken on the site, in breach of planning controls.
The defendants have until February 8 to submit an appeal, less than a month from now.
This is four months less than what is normally given and if the defendants fail to submit the appeal in this allocated time, they will have to vacate the land before April 8, two months after their appeal deadline.
They will have to cease the residential use and remove their caravans and residential paraphernalia from the land within two months of the final determination of the appeal, if they are unsuccessful.
The terms of the new order are also backed up by a penal notice, which means that any breach could amount to a contempt of court, punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or the seizure of assets.