'To: White Transit van
I, Nick Hibberd, Head of Service, Housing and Social Inclusion, Brighton and Hove City Council, Kings House, Brighton, DO HEREBY GIVE YOU NOTICE that the above land is:
And is within the administrative area of Brighton and Hove Council and that you are residing in vehicles on the said land contrary to Section 77 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
Therefore, I DO HEREBY DIRECT YOU to leave the said land and remove the above mentioned vehicles and any other property you might have with you on the land,
TAKE FURTHER NOTICE THAT should you fail to comply with this direction as soon as practicable Brighton and Hove Council will apply to Brighton and Hove Magistrates' Court for an Order requiring the removal of the said vehicles and any persons residing in them.
AND TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that should you fail to comply with this direction, or having done so, again enter the said land with a vehicle within the period of THREE MONTHS beginning with the date hereof you will be committing an offence and will be liable for summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
Dated this 5th day of January 2012.
Head of Service, Housing and Social Inclusion
Brighton and Hove City Council
Okay, a little background. A homeless friend is sleeping in my van, declared SORN, parked off-road somewhere in Brighton. Obviously, I'm not going to say where. He was evicted from New Steine Mews BY BRIGHTON AND HOVE CITY COUNCIL, so quite why the 'Social Inclusion' people of Brighton and Hove City Council are complaining to me I have no idea. They expelled him from their own homeless hostel. He has come to me, it's very cold, very wet, very rainy and so I let him sleep in my van at night to take shelter.
Now, the same Council that's thrown him out is complaining to me when I give him shelter! They're not complaining because the van is parked off-road. Their complaining that a homeless person is sheltering in a van at night! I guess, if he just curled up in a sleeping bag in a piss-stinking car park, or slept rough in the park in some bushes in the freezing cold and wet, there would be no complaints from the Council. I can't move the thing because its SORN and I can't afford to get it fixed to pass the MOT. The 'Housing and Social Inclusion' staff have no qualms about putting homeless men on the street but then punish those who offer refuge to the homeless! Here is that Section 77 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act:
Sections 77, 78 and 79: Unauthorised Campers
'Unauthorised campers' are people residing in a vehicle or vehicles on any part of the highway or any other land in the open air without permission of the owner.
Section 77 gives the local council the authority to direct an unauthorised camper to leave the land and remove all vehicles. It becomes an offence to not leave the land and remove all vehicles/ property 'as soon as reasonably practicable' or to re-enter the land within 3 months, liable to a fine of up to £1000.
A magistrates' court can make an order under section 78 which allows the local council to take 'reasonable steps' to ensure the removal of a vehicle and any person residing within it. Another new offence is the wilful obstruction of anyone engaged in the removal - maximum fine of £1000.
A thousand pounds, eh? Funny, because that's what I was quoted to get the thing fixed! In other words, the wicked are rewarded and the just are condemned! What about the right to shelter under the Human Rights Act?! What about the right not to die of pneumonia or get beaten up by drunken louts because the Council kicked you out of a hostel in winter?! Welcome to Brighton, readers! I don't doubt that the law is on their side, but justice certainly is not! And, if I move the van, exactly where can I park it off-road and where, exactly, is my homeless friend meant to sleep? Where's The Daily Mail when you really need them?! Isn't it funny how the 'unoccupied land' rules are changed when Zippo's Circus or Gay Pride comes to town!?