Work continues to protect Torbay’s open spaces and try to prevent unauthorised encampments thanks to £70,000 worth of investment. 

A number of measures have already been put in place and more are in the pipeline to discourage unauthorised access to council land. 

Proactive, preventative measures have been ongoing over the last year at several locations across Torbay to prevent unauthorised encampments.   

In 2021 preventative measures were put in place to secure various sites across Torbay in locations such as White Rock, Broadsands, Clennon Valley and Centenary Way at the Willows.  These initial works included gate repairs and new concrete bollards.  

In April and May of this year, the temporary measures already in place at Paignton Green were made permanent. This included new metal, lockable gates, and the creation of a hard standing at the gated access points.

To strengthen the existing security, metal boxes have been fitted around padlocks at White Rock and Clennon Valley to stop the padlocks from being broken with bolt cutters. This preventative measure has worked but has recently displaced unauthorised encampments to sites which previously haven’t been vulnerable, such as Hollicombe, Hampton Avenue and Windmill Hill. So, the metal boxes will now be rolled out to other public sites where appropriate.

In recent weeks, there have been several unauthorised encampments across the Bay. We would like to reassure residents that the frustrations and concerns voiced in the community are being clearly heard. 

We are monitoring the situation closely and completing the strict legal processes as quickly as possible to resolve any situations as they emerge, whilst treating the individuals and families involved with appropriate consideration.  

As soon as unauthorised encampments leave a site, SWISCo teams are swiftly deployed to conduct a thorough clean-up operation and diligent safety checks.  

Cllr Steve Darling, Leader, Torbay Council, said; “Where necessary and suitable, we are continuing to put preventative measures in place to manage future unauthorised encampments in locations across Torbay. Issues such as these that matter so strongly the community are being heard and addressed with ongoing action. 

“We understand the frustrations and concerns voiced across the community during these times and would like to thank residents and local businesses for their patience. Our SWISCo teams are working promptly to ensure Torbay’s parks and open spaces can be enjoyed by all. “  

Cllr Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader, Torbay Council, said; “There is clear evidence to suggest that preventative measures are successful in parts of the bay already using them. We can’t put measures in place in every area accessible to the public, so we are making sure we focus our resources effectively.  

“It is important that we continue to act within reason to get the balance right, so we don’t close off all public areas during the summer. If residents identify a piece of council land which has been occupied with an unauthorised encampment, then we urge them to contact us immediately. We would like to thank residents for their engagement throughout this time.”  

For further information about how we deal with unauthorised encampments visit the encampments page.

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