Travellers eviction from Dollis Hill road highlights needs for sites

Travellers in Oxleys Road, Dollis Hill, which is owned by Brent Council, were told to move on

Travellers in Oxleys Road, Dollis Hill, which is owned by Brent Council, were told to move on - Credit: Richard Rowland

Travellers moved on from Dollis Hill last week has highlighted the need for more sites for nomadic communities.

Around seven caravans appeared in Oxleys Road on April 27 causing disquiet in the area.

The road is owned by Brent Council and leads to Gladstone Park.

Pinemartin Close, Broadfield Close and Mascotts Close run off the road making access for residents living in these streets difficult. 

Council and police officers moved the travellers on April 29 following complaints.

Former Dollis Hill councillor Alison Hopkins said prior to their removal: "I have a lot of sympathy for the travelling community as they do need sites.

"The road is almost like a pathway, is quite tucked away and not a public highway, it's part of the park. 

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"Where they are they are obstructing the only road into a residential estate which leads to a dead end.

"When travellers are there fire and ambulances can't get through. They don't have any chance of not being moved on.

"It's a catch 22 of no places for them to go so they go where they can."

In an unrelated meeting on April 29 about an upcoming police and crime bill, Kensal & Kilburn Better 2021 discussed How do we #KilltheBill banning protests and targeting Gypsies and Travellers?

Panellist Luke Smith, a Romani gypsy, said the bill advocates for £2,500 fines and prison terms against the traveller community.

"There's 20 per cent of our community that can't afford somewhere to live, don't have somewhere do live or are being actively refused somewhere to live."

He said travellers have some of the worst education, healthcare, accommodation and criminal justice outcomes in the country. 

"There's a lack of permanent sites in the country, transit sites which have access to bins, or negotiated stopping areas.

"Instead of finding people who are suffering a form of homelessness somewhere to live, this bill criminalises them for simply existing."

A Brent Council spokesperson said: “As a council, we have a duty to take prompt and appropriate action to address any unauthorised intrusion or encampment on any council land.

"This will always include conducting welfare and needs assessments prior to carrying out any enforcement action.”

They added: "Brent has a dedicated Gypsy and Traveller site at Lynton Close (Stonebridge) and we are working with residents at Lynton Close and the GLA to identify either an alternative larger site or an additional site."

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