Successful partnership response cleans up a local area

Harrow Manorway flyover illegal encampment clear up in action

Bexley’s Community Safety Team were this week part of a successful operation to clear an area that had been a key concern to residents and businesses.

The Council and the Thamesmead Safer Neighbourhoods Team had received a number of complaints concerning an illegal encampment that had been set up underneath the Harrow Manorway Flyover in Thamesmead.

Reports ranged from anti-social behaviour, theft, drug dealing and taking which led to an increased fear of crime. The area was also a real concern from a health and safety perspective as it was littered with used needles.

A taskforce involving a range of Council departments including Community Safety, Legal, Highways, Waste Services and Housing joined the Thamesmead SNT and Design Out Crime Officer to develop plans to support the vulnerable residents who were occupying the site and clean and secure the premises.

A 48 hour Closure Notice was issued earlier this week (20 September). The partnership group attended the site leading on a major clean-up operation. During the 48 hours the local Policing team carried out regular patrols to ensure the site was not breached.

Today (22 September) a full closure order was granted at Bexley Magistrates Court following continued efforts by the Community Safety Unit.  The area concerned was then filled and fenced off to stop people from occupying it in the future.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Baroness O’Neill of Bexley OBE said:

This was a really difficult situation that has been solved in a planned and sensitive way through partnership work. Our residents and businesses were rightly concerned about a ‘camp’ forming.

By working together we have been able to put their minds at rest and ensure that the site is not accessible for this kind of use in the future.

I understand that a number of residents approached both Police and Council Officers and thanked them for their efforts while the clean up took place. I also thank all the teams involved for their work in bringing this to a close."

Throughout the process Council and other local agencies worked together to engage the individuals in support programmes as well as signposting them to housing advice.

At every point, the individuals were reminded of their housing options as well as the support services available to them.