Clean up to begin after group living in park ‘encampment’ are ordered to leave

A group of men set up camp in Huntingdon's Castle Hill. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

A group of men set up camp in Huntingdon's Castle Hill. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

An “encampment” set up by a group of homeless people in Huntingdon has been dismantled by the town council following a lengthy legal process.

Huntingdon Town Council was first made aware that a group of “several men” had set up a camp in a wooded area of Castle Hill in August, with tents and temporary structures put in place.

Huntingdonshire District Council was called in to offer assistance to the group and, while several took up an offer of support and temporary accommodation, others turned down the offer of help and declined to move.

In a report to a town council meeting on Thursday, it was noted: “The encampment slowly increased in size as others joined the site.

“The men on the site were informed they were trespassing by a letter from Huntingdon Town Council and the local police. The letter requested they vacate the site but this was ignored.”

The report noted that members of the public started to lodge complaints about mess and discarded needles and “estates services staff attended the site and cleared up used needles and excrement to keep the area safe and clean for members of the public”.

The council says a box of needles was taken to a police station to “highlight the issue”.

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Following discussions with solicitors and Cambridgeshire police, it was agreed that the town council would have to pursue the matter through the county court system by making a claim for the “possession of site” against the nine men who were in the camp.

A hearing took place on October 26 and the order was granted by Peterborough County Court.

While some of the group had left by the end of the month, some remained and a county court bailiff was called in by solicitors to carry out the eviction of two remaining men, who had previously been offered support.

The clerk to Huntingdon Town Council, Philip Peacock told the Hunts Post town council staff had moved onto the site and cleaned up the remaining mess when the final evictions had been completed.