Labour commit to more robust approach to travellers

    A cross-party agreement was struck to ensure the Council takes a more robust approach. Progress will be reported at the next meeting of the Labour Cabinet in early July.

    Dozens of Tattenhoe residents filled the public gallery on Wednesday, forcing the Labour Council Leader to accept the need for physical barriers and legal injunctions to help deal with unauthorised traveller encampments.

    Conservative Cllr Geetha Morla, who represents Tattenhoe, proposed a motion calling for this urgent action after a significant rise in illegal encampments and anti-social behaviour. However, Labour attempted an amendment that would have watered down the response and blocked the use of legal injunctions.

    Throughout the lengthy debate, Labour councillors repeatedly proposed developing 19 new permanent traveller sites across MK as a solution, despite repeated warnings from residents and Conservative councillors that many of the current disturbances are the result of transient rather than fixed traveller groups.

    The Labour administration and their Lib Dem partners were eventually abandoned their original amendment after hours of heated exchanges with residents. A cross-party agreement was struck to support Cllr Morla’s motion and ensure the Council takes a more robust approach. Progress will be reported at the next meeting of the Labour Cabinet in early July.

    Cllr Geetha Morla sayss, "It became very clear through the debate that Labour had ignored the feelings of Tattenhoe residents. They have been slow to acknowledge the issue and even slower to take action.

    "I’m pleased they have now withdrawn their amendment, acknowledged the failings of the Council and accepted the need for serious action."

    A petition of over 3,000 residents was also submitted at the start of the meeting.

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