Travellers who move onto the beach car parks in Lytham St Anne’s can stay as Fylde Council says it is unable to evict them due to lockdown. Additionally Guidance issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says local councils must provide the Travellers with running water, sanitation and refuse collection. A number of caravans were reported to be moved onto the North Beach car park over the Bank Holiday weekend. Fylde Council also received reports of another illegal beach front encampment on a car park near the RNLI Lifeboat station in South Promenade.
The Council has reported to concerned residents that these Travellers have been visited by officers from Fylde Council. However, it is unable to remove them from the site by issuing a court order due to the ongoing pandemic. The Council has also been made aware of guidance that its officers must provide the Travellers with running water, sanitation and refuse collection.
This guidance states: “Gypsies and Travellers are particularly vulnerable and have the potential to be particularly impacted by COVID-19, and some will already have been asked to shield for twelve weeks due to high risk underlying health conditions. We know that some families lack basic amenities including running water, adequate sanitation, and refuse disposal facilities, all of which are essential to limit the spread of the virus and keep people safe. Many will no longer have access to places they may have previously relied on for water and cleaning purposes, due to closures of leisure centres, churches and petrol station toilets. The closure of many recycling centres has also had an impact on the disposal of refuse.
To enable compliance with COVID-19 public health guidance on hygiene requirements, access to these basic facilities is essential. This might involve the provision of additional temporary water, sanitation and waste disposal facilities to those currently lacking access to these, or making alternative stopping places available, such as transit sites, suitable local authority land, and holiday campsites which may have closed and have established facilities.’