Travellers finally move on from Kew Green in West London


A group of travellers who took over an affluent west London park voluntarily left hours before an eviction notice could be served forcing them to leave.

The 12 caravans and cars that had first pitched up on Kew Green on Thursday, angering nearby neighbours living in £2m homes, finally left last night.

Legal representatives from Richmond Council have now been granted a three month order banning travellers from returning to the site.

A council spokesman said there was no damage to the green and rubbish left behind had been removed.

Local residents expressed their relief – and urged the council to keep the banning order in place.

Josie Allen, 56, said: ‘We are lucky there is no damage. I am pleased they’ve gone and do not want to see them back.’

A local shopkeeper said youths from the group had stolen from her convenience store and there were reports of youths fighting.

Meanwhile, the travellers claimed they had been abused by motorists stuck in traffic on Kew Bridge.

The council was granted an order of possession by the High Court on Monday evening.

A group of travellers who took over an affluent west London park voluntarily left hours before an eviction notice could be served forcing them to leave

A group of travellers who took over an affluent west London park voluntarily left hours before an eviction notice could be served forcing them to leave

The 12 caravans and cars that had first pitched up on Kew Green on Thursday, angering nearby neighbours living in £2m homes, finally left last night

The 12 caravans and cars that had first pitched up on Kew Green on Thursday, angering nearby neighbours living in £2m homes, finally left last night

Legal representatives from Richmond Council have now been granted a three month order banning travellers from returning to the site

Legal representatives from Richmond Council have now been granted a three month order banning travellers from returning to the site

Rubbish left behind after a group of travellers spent the bank holiday weekend on Kew Green in west London

Rubbish left behind after a group of travellers spent the bank holiday weekend on Kew Green in west London

A council spokesman said: ‘A group of travellers who have been on Kew Green since Thursday have left the site, after swift legal action from Richmond Council resulted in a High Court decision to give the Council powers to evict them.

‘The travellers voluntarily left yesterday evening (Tuesday) and Council officers were on site immediately to inspect for damage. The group left some bags of rubbish, which Council contractors cleared early this morning. No damage has been caused to the site.

‘Although the travellers have now left, the Council will still serve the Order of Possession today, which is valid for three months.’

Cllr Julia Neden-Watts, Chair of the Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sports Committee, added: ‘Thanks to our prompt action last week we were able to get a court hearing as soon as possible after the Bank Holiday, which has resulted in a Possession Order and the traveller group voluntarily leaving the site before we were required to evict them.

‘In this instance we did not have the same power we have had in recent years, following a High Court order earlier this month which denied the Council’s request to extend the previous expedited injunction process.

‘We moved as quickly as legally possible to ensure that the travellers could be moved on from Kew Green and we hope that this swift action deters this group from returning and others from coming to the borough.

‘I would like to thank Police, our Parkguard officers and our cleansing team who have been on site since Thursday to monitor the site and clear any waste left in the area.’

The travellers arrived last Thursday afternoon, and as soon as the council were notified, officers visited to conduct welfare checks and site assessment and request they move on. The group, however, did not co-operate.

The council issued a legal notice of the hearing date on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, the group continued to refuse to leave. 

Security guards had been patrolling the green which is just an eight-minute walk from popular attraction Kew Gardens and is surrounded by properties valued at an average of £2million each.

Police were also monitoring the situation after complaints from local residents that a local alleyway was being used as a toilet. 

One bare chested man among the group said earlier this week: ‘We will leave when we want.’

Travellers who took over an affluent park in West London were due to be forced out after the local council took its five-day battle to remove them to the High Court

Travellers who took over an affluent park in West London were due to be forced out after the local council took its five-day battle to remove them to the High Court

A woman stands on the phone next to a collection of bin bags after travellers left a huge amount of rubbish over the weekend

A woman stands on the phone next to a collection of bin bags after travellers left a huge amount of rubbish over the weekend

Despite being asked to move on Friday, the group showed no signs of leaving as they walked around the site earlier today

Despite being asked to move on Friday, the group showed no signs of leaving as they walked around the site earlier today

A young man driving a BMW on the site has a chat with another as the council steps up its efforts to remove the group

A young man driving a BMW on the site has a chat with another as the council steps up its efforts to remove the group

A number of vehicles remain on the site, but local authority chiefs are confident of successfully evicting the travellers today

A number of vehicles remain on the site, but local authority chiefs are confident of successfully evicting the travellers today

Three men enjoy a smoke as the pressure mounted following the group's arrival in the affluent park late last week

Three men enjoy a smoke as the pressure mounted following the group’s arrival in the affluent park late last week

A man and a woman at the site yesterday, despite the growing efforts from council chiefs to evict the group of travellers

A man and a woman at the site yesterday, despite the growing efforts from council chiefs to evict the group of travellers

A traveller's car performs donuts in the middle of the affluent west London park

A traveller's car performs donuts in the middle of the affluent west London park

A traveller’s car performs donuts (pictured left and right) in the middle of the affluent west London park

Legal representatives from Richmond Council are this afternoon seeking a court order for their eviction from Kew Green, where the group have upset neighbours over the bank holiday weekend

Legal representatives from Richmond Council are this afternoon seeking a court order for their eviction from Kew Green, where the group have upset neighbours over the bank holiday weekend

The council has promised to repair any damage to the green as well as dispose of dozens of black rubbish sacks

The council has promised to repair any damage to the green as well as dispose of dozens of black rubbish sacks

The order is almost certain to be approved, with a local authority spokesman saying: 'How much time the group have to leave depends on the court'

The order is almost certain to be approved, with a local authority spokesman saying: ‘How much time the group have to leave depends on the court’

Neighbours are upset with the amount of rubbish that has been left by the travellers since they first arrived on Thursday

Neighbours are upset with the amount of rubbish that has been left by the travellers since they first arrived on Thursday

A woman folds a pram over the grass yesterday as the travellers continue to stay on Kew Green in Richmond, West London

A woman folds a pram over the grass yesterday as the travellers continue to stay on Kew Green in Richmond, West London

A group of men gather on Kew Green in West London yesterday as the travellers refuse to leave amid a stand-off with the council

A group of men gather on Kew Green in West London yesterday as the travellers refuse to leave amid a stand-off with the council

Travellers continue to stay on the site at Kew Green in West London yesterday as Richmond Council tries to evict them

Travellers continue to stay on the site at Kew Green in West London yesterday as Richmond Council tries to evict them

Local residents said yesterday how they hoped the eviction – were it to come to that – would go smoothly.

One told MailOnline: ‘We just want them gone. What gives them the right to take over the Green? 

‘Fortunately there has been no trouble but they will not be taking their rubbish with them so someone has to pay to clear that up.’ 

The council has promised to repair any damage to the green as well as dispose of dozens of black rubbish sacks.

Residents in the upmarket neighbourhood who would normally be enjoying picnics in the warm weather say they have been forced instead to remain indoors over the weekend.

Security guards who had been patrolling the green kept a low profile ahead of the court hearing.

One local said she caught a teenager from the traveller camp trying to steal her neigbour’s vintage Triumph motorcycle. 

Sophie Hunter, 51, said: ‘I caught the lad sitting on the bike and trying to walk it away down the road.

‘I shouted out to him and told him that he couldn’t do that and he tried to argue that it was his motorbike. It was only when I started trying to film him that he got off.

‘I called the police but they didn’t send an officer down and haven’t called me back. In fact the police have been scarce since the travellers arrived last week. It’s caused a lot of upset locally because on a day such as this you’d get people sitting on the green, families would play games and have picnics.

‘But the travellers have ringed the space with their caravans and are very intimidating. A few of them have given a friend of mine some verbals for asking them to turn their generators off.

‘It’s a shame because it’s the nicest weekend weather we’ve had in quite some time. Apparently a few people have used an alley between some of the houses as a toilet and a few of the kids have been seen going through people’s allotments.

‘I have to say I’ve avoided going on the green altogether, I usually walk my dogs across there but I’ve taken the long way around today. I’m worried there might be broken glass on the grass from where they’ve been drinking out of bottles and I don’t want the dogs’ feet to be cut.

‘This is a conservation area and to get anything past planning from Richmond council takes a miracle…unless you turn up mob handed and plonk a load of caravans in the heart of the community.’

A woman walks on the grass at Kew Green in West London today

The travellers continue to stay on the site today

A woman walks on the grass at Kew Green in West London yesterday as the travellers continue to stay on the site

A girl pushes a baby in a pram at Kew Green in West London yesterday as the travellers continue to stay in the area

A girl pushes a baby in a pram at Kew Green in West London yesterday as the travellers continue to stay in the area

Two shirtless men walk on the grass at Kew Green in West London yesterday as the travellers continue to stay at the site

Two shirtless men walk on the grass at Kew Green in West London yesterday as the travellers continue to stay at the site

A security guard patrols Kew Green yesterday as Richmond Council continues to try to evict the travellers from the site

A security guard patrols Kew Green yesterday as Richmond Council continues to try to evict the travellers from the site

A man holds a mug as he talks to other men gathered on the picturesque Kew Green in West London yesterday

A man holds a mug as he talks to other men gathered on the picturesque Kew Green in West London yesterday

The travellers are pictured yesterday having set up camp in the affluent West London park over the bank holiday weekend

The travellers are pictured yesterday having set up camp in the affluent West London park over the bank holiday weekend

Groups of bare chested men were yesterday seen soaking up the sun drinking cans as children cycled on the green. Families had opened car doors on vehicles parked next to their caravans to use as makeshift washing lines.

There were piles of rubbish bags placed neatly by the bins with very little litter strewn across the green.

Local resident Jane Walker, 45, said she would normally take her three-year-old son to Kew Green to play but felt too intimidated this afternoon. he said: ‘I don’t want to be that person, but I’m too worried about going on there at the moment with the older teenagers hanging around.

‘I’d normally take my son over to the green and maybe kick a ball about it but I’ve stayed at home today instead. The travellers have kind of taken over the community space. I hope they aren’t going to be there much longer.’

A couple, who have lived in the area since 1974 but declined to give their names, were walking past today. The man said: ‘We haven’t had travellers on the green for years and years and I hope it doesn’t become a regular thing. 

‘I know some travellers used to pitch up on land near to the National Archive but the council put bollards and gates there a few years ago and they haven’t been back since. Perhaps that needs to be done here but it wouldn’t be that pleasing on the eye to surround the green with fencing.

A man stands outside a caravan yesterday as the travellers continue to stay on the green, which is  a short walk from Kew Gardens

A man stands outside a caravan yesterday as the travellers continue to stay on the green, which is  a short walk from Kew Gardens

A man looks inside a caravan yesterday as the travellers continue stay on Kew Green in an affluent part of West London

A man looks inside a caravan yesterday as the travellers continue stay on Kew Green in an affluent part of West London

A man stands next to a park on Kew Green yesterday as travellers stay on the picturesque site in West London

A man stands next to a park on Kew Green yesterday as travellers stay on the picturesque site in West London

A man washes his hair outside a caravan yesterday as the travellers stay on the site at Kew Green in West London

A man washes his hair outside a caravan yesterday as the travellers stay on the site at Kew Green in West London

‘As far as I know there hasn’t been many major problems although I did hear that someone was chased over Kew Bridge for trying to take photos of them the other day. The council sent a worker down to put up notices from the High Court on posts but they were removed and dismantled pretty much straight away.

‘My guess is that if they’re not gone by tomorrow, then they’ll be here until the end of half term.’

Artist Sue Mason, 72, said: ‘I’ve not been too bothered by them myself, although it’s a shame that the families would normally be picnicking and enjoying the green have been put off from going.

‘There isn’t much mess as far as I can see, the families on there have cleaned up after themselves. Whether there is any damage done to the grass from their vehicles we’ll have to see.

‘But there hasn’t been any trouble, there’s not been any loud music or shouting and swearing. The only noise is from their generators which admittedly do go on until late at night. That said I would want them to move on fairly soon. 

‘We used to have knee-high railings that used to surround the green but much of it was removed to help manufacture ammunition during the war. Perhaps we need to put it back?’ 

A man walks through Kew Green yesterday as the travellers stay on the site in West London at the picturesque park

A man walks through Kew Green yesterday as the travellers stay on the site in West London at the picturesque park

A man rubs his hands together yesterday as the travellers continue to occupy Kew Green in the Richmond area of West London

A man rubs his hands together yesterday as the travellers continue to occupy Kew Green in the Richmond area of West London

A man wipes his face on a towel at Kew Green in West London yesterday as the travellers continue to occupy the site

A man wipes his face on a towel at Kew Green in West London yesterday as the travellers continue to occupy the site

On Friday, Richmond Council confirmed it would start the legal process to obtain and enforce a possession order.

Delays were expected due to a High Court order earlier this month that denied the council’s request to extend the previous expedited injunction process, in common with numerous other local authorities. 

Instead, the council is forced to go via the courts to remove the group. A spokesman for the local authority confirmed once the travellers have been removed it will endeavour to repair any damage caused.

Speaking on Friday, Councillor Julia Neden-Watts said: ‘A small group of travellers has arrived in Kew. This morning, Council officers will commence the legal action required to expedite their departure.

‘Due to a recent court ruling, this process will not be as fast as residents would like and I know that they will be concerned, but we have to work within the law.

‘As soon as the travellers leave, we will inspect the area and ensure that any damage is repaired, and waste removed. Our park guard officers, along with the police, will be monitoring the site closely until the group depart.’  

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘Police were called to Kew Green, Kew, at 4.28pm on Thursday, May 27 to reports of a group of vehicles on the land.

‘Officers attended and regular patrols around the area have been carried out during the past few days.’



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