A small group of homeless people have been told they have just seven days to pack up and leave Barnstaple site after ‘public safety’ row with council.
Occupiers of a homeless camp in Barnstaple have been given seven days to leave.
Protestors gathered in the rain this morning (Tuesday) over fears the community at Seven Brethren would be evicted.
The small group were told they must leave the site where they have been camping for the last five months.
The issue arose after North Devon Council (NDC) became aware a fundraising event at the site, involving a bonfire and fireworks, was advertised.
Officers advised the ‘high risk’ event should not take place as a matter of public safety, but a small gathering went ahead on Sunday night regardless.
Jon Triggs, NDC’s head of resources, said: “North Devon Council representatives have visited the ‘camp’ this morning and spoken with those who have been living on the site.
“We have agreed to give the occupiers seven days to leave the camp.
“Our housing team is committed to helping those affected by homelessness, and continue to actively engage with the group to offer whatever support, accommodation and financial aid we can to assist them.”
Kiz Angell, who helps run Survival Bags Home and Away and Bus Shelter North Devon, said a petition was being set up to help those in the camp.
She said: “We are formulating a plan. We will have a petition ready to be signed at The Den from tomorrow and an online later.”
The Gazette visited the site this morning and spoke to protestors and those living at the camp.
Nat Hyland has been living at the site all summer, and said he only found out about the eviction last night (Monday).
He said: “It’s not even a reasonable amount of time; we’ve been told we have to get out by 10am.
“I don’t know what will happen or where we are going to go.”
Nat said there were currently three men living at the camp, and two more had been due to join them, but had been scared off by the news.
He said: “We were all over behind Asda, where there is another community, but the police and council came and said they were shutting the site down. They sent us over here.
“I think the problem was this is a methane site, and they are concerned about having fires here.
“But I went out and bought incinerators to make sure it is all safe. We’ve never had any issues.”