Long-term van dwellers on Bristol beauty spot served eviction notice by council

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A group of van dwellers on a road through a large public park in Bristol have been given two weeks’ notice to move on by the city council.

The enforcement notice has been stuck to a number of caravans and vehicles on the one-way section of Parry’s Lane which cuts through Durdham Down from the A4018 to Saville Road.

The notice says the encampment has been re-assessed as ‘high impact’ due to the proximity to residential properties; the inappropriate disposal of human and general waste; its size and concentration; and its nature, suitability or obtrusiveness.  

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It says the council may take legal action against the van dwellers if they do not vacate the area within 14 days.   

Van dwellers on Parry’s Lane have been served a 14-day eviction notice Van dwellers on Parry’s Lane have been served a 14-day eviction notice
Van dwellers on Parry’s Lane have been served a 14-day eviction notice | Charlie Watts

The notice, dated June 12, reads: “Bristol City Council, whilst having permitted the encampment to date, does not give permission for the public highway to be used in this way and I must therefore ask you to vacate the highway.

“Failure to do so may result in Bristol City Council taking legal proceedings to remove you and the vehicle from the highway. 

“Any caravans or vehicles that appear to be abandoned will also be removed.” 

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Parry’s Lane has been a popular parking spot for van dwellers for a number of years, but has caused frequent complaints from much wealthier people living in houses and flats in Clifton and Stoke Bishop.  

Complaints include litter and public urination, although the council recently closed many public toilets, adding to the problem.   

John Goulandris and Henry Michallat, the Conservative councillors for the Stoke Bishop ward, which covers the Downs, said the possible van dweller eviction is a “very positive step”.

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Goulandris said: “This is a positive step in the right direction after years and years of campaigning. We will be keeping a close eye on the situation over the coming weeks.”

Michallat added: “It is great to see at long last the council deems this encampment as ‘high impact’ after years of lobbying the previous mayor and council.”

The eviction notice comes amid the council’s Downs committee being urged this week to introduce security patrols to prevent the parkland from becoming “overwhelmed by lawlessness”.    

A new tax has also this week been proposed for people living near the beauty spot to help pay for maintenance costs.   

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In May, it was reported that Bristol now has the highest number of people living in vehicles across all council areas in Britain after a sharp rise since 2020. 

An estimated 800 people are living inside between 600 and 650 vehicles in the city.  

A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: "On June 12, the council’s Neighbourhood Enforcement Team visited the encampment on Parry’s Lane and Saville Road to conduct a welfare check and assessment following complaints received from residents and councillors.

“During this visit, a letter was issued to occupants requesting they vacate the land in the next 14 days.

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“This letter is an informal request and offers the vehicle dwellers the opportunity to open a dialogue about the concerns we have raised.

“The Neighbourhood Enforcement Team remains in conversation with the occupants of the Parry’s Lane encampment and will revisit the area on June 26 to assess if further action, as a result of any vehicles remaining on site, is necessary.”

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