I’m not there on the ground so take with a pinch of salt.
There should be a compromise here. Yes, according to what I heard the travelers did not put in proper planning applications. Yes, as a council employee said, they can’t be seen to be making an exception for some people under planning regulations. But in my school the rules are there to be bent. The council response appears to be bone headed and short sighted. They could have the best of the both worlds …
1. Come to a compromise with the travelers where they put in retrospective applications for the building they have done. If there are major problems with the building work in light of the applications then maybe some alterations might have to be made, but at least the owners would keep their homes and the council could clear this all up.
2. The council could be seen to be doing their job – looking after local residents – if they do things like consider where possibly evicted residents are going to go ? By the sound of it they are thinking of turfing them all out with no consideration of where they are going, simply so they can be seen to be enforcing planning regulations. Is it right to treat these people as criminals just because they failed to put in a planning application ?
This seems to be a case of short sighted case of “the rules or else”. Yes legislation is important, but it can’t and should not cover every case encountered. That’s why we have courts and judges or this small thing called flexibility. Hopefully this standoff can be dissolved. Maybe the travelers can admit that they should have put an application in, and the council can see that there is more to their role than simply enforcing the rules.