Councillors praised for 'tireless' illegal encampment work

Illegal encampments in Waterbeach and Stretham

Waterbeach parish councillors have been praised for their efforts in dealing with an illegal encampment (left) on the village recreation ground. Caravans then appeared at Stretham Recreation Ground (right). - Credit: Supplied

Residents have praised parish councillors for their work in dealing with an illegal encampment. 

Villagers took to social media to thank councillors on Waterbeach Parish Council for their efforts to remove 17 caravans from the village recreation field last week. 

One of those villagers was James Bull, a former South East Cambridgeshire MP candidate who stood against incumbent MP Lucy Frazer in 2019.  

Mr Bull said: “It has been a very difficult week for our Waterbeach village community. 

“Occupying a public recreation ground that is well used for sports and social activities was inevitably going to create problems. 

Illegal encampment in Waterbeach

Waterbeach parish councillors have been praised for their efforts in dealing with an illegal encampment on the village recreation ground. - Credit: Supplied

“Our parish council has worked tirelessly to resolve this situation and to bring our rec back into public use.” 

Mr Bull heaped praise on parish councillors for their work despite limited resources, and asked other residents to do the same. 

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“Unlike district or county councillors, parish councillors are essentially unpaid volunteers, with only a small fraction of the resources that our county and district councils receive,” he said. 

“Over the last week our parish councillors have received hundreds of phone calls from villagers. 

“They have worked tirelessly (and with little thanks) to deal with this situation, struggling to get support from the far bigger and better resourced local authorities and police force.” 

He added: “I'd like to give my thanks to our Waterbeach parish councillors for their hard work and I hope others will join me.” 

The encampment was moved on from Waterbeach Recreation Ground after Cambridgeshire police received reports of an unauthorised encampment earlier last week.

Caravans have since arrived at Stretham Recreation Ground and those staying there were handed an eviction notice to leave the site.

Caravans arrive at Stretham Recreation Ground

Around 17 caravans have been spotted on Stretham Recreation Ground, less than 24 hours after an illegal encampment was moved on from Waterbeach. - Credit: Supplied

East Cambridgeshire District Council’s housing and community advice service said it is working with the parish council and have provided the encampment with dustbin bags.

A Stretham Parish Council spokesperson said: “There are currently around 17 caravans.

“The parish council has instructed a bailiff company and they have been on site with the police."

The spokesperson said today (Tuesday) the encampment was still in place despite being given until Monday evening to leave or the bailiff company would do so.

Ely Tigers Rugby Club reported that caravans have been spotted at their ground on Downham Road this evening.

It is unclear whether the caravans are linked to the encampment in Waterbeach.