Camp bling goes cuckoo!
 
Shergroup’s enforcement and security divisions were called in by Southend Borough Council in March to bring to a conclusion the tail end of the longest running protest camp in the UK, referred to as ‘Camp Bling’. In fact, the site had moved across the road and was now named ‘Camp Cuckoo’! Protesters were camped on Priory Crescent, Southend, and were opposing a £5m road improvement scheme on the burial site of a Saxon King, who was dubbed the “King of Bling” after archaeologists found gold at the 8th Century site and the earlier (hence the first name given to the site).

Shergroup Officers served High Court papers on the protestors at the Cuckoo site in March, in which the defendants were actually named as parties to the proceedings – unusual in trespasser actions. Lorraine Butler, interim Head of Enterprise at Southend Borough Council, said: “The aim of the legal proceedings is to take back possession of the land so we can begin work. The protesters have no right to be there, and their actions have already caused significant disruption. Peaceful protest is everybody’s right in a democratic society, but any action that hinders the progress of the approved scheme is not acceptable. Their actions have left us with no alternative but to resort to legal proceedings to ensure we can progress with the scheme.”

Once the Order for Possession had been made in the High Court, the Writ of Possession was prepared by Shergroup, as a firm of High Court Enforcement Officers, so that the eviction could take place.

In the early hours of the morning, Shergroup Enforcement Officers arrived on the site and met no resistance as the tree felling began at 8am. The work was completed by noon. Anna Waite, Southend Council’s Executive Councillor for Planning and Transport, was pleased there had been no confrontation with the protestors. She said: “I am pleased the bailiffs have managed to take back possession of this piece of land for the Council without incident. Every effort was made to keep the disruption caused to local residents and motorists to a minimum, and the trees were removed quicker than we expected. We can now get on with the preparation work for this vital road improvement project, which will greatly benefit the town.”

Shergroup’s end-to-end service assisted the client local authority in its planning and organisation of the Writ of Possession, giving a complete and seamless service. Following its own stringent health and safety policy, Shergroup worked with its strategic partners, including highly specialised contractors, to deal with “working at height” and “confined space risks.”

As always, the Shergroup team worked hand in hand with Essex Police to ensure a safe and well-planned operation. Finally, Shergroup’s security teams were on hand to manage any additional protestor action that might thwart the immediate start to construction works.

In addition, whilst Shergroup takes a neutral stance in these matters, we are able to report in this Bulletin that for the first time we saw a protestor walk into the reception area at Shergroup House and pay the £5,000 legal costs that were ordered to be paid as a result of the Order for Possession being made against named individuals. The defendant had been to his bank, drawn out the money and delivered the cash to Shergroup’s offices.

 
 
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