The following statement has been issued on behalf of the Parochial Church Council:-
Statement on behalf of the Parochial Church Council of the Parish of St Lawrence Effingham with All Saints, Little Bookham
On 6th August two caravans arrived and parked up in the grounds of St Lawrence Church Hall, Effingham. They were not invited and were trespassers. After receiving assurances that there were only going to be two of them and that they would depart on 10th August they were supplied with a hose and water. Sadly, these assurances proved false and 4 other caravans and various work lorries joined them. The supply of water was then abused and they did not leave as promised. At this point the water supply was turned off but access to a tap in the neighbouring churchyard was not restricted.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC), under its management responsibilities on behalf of the church authorities, had a fiduciary duty to seek the removal of the caravans due to the increasing damage to the church’s property. This included fly tipping and accumulation of human waste that was likely to become a health hazard. The PCC also had a responsibility to its neighbours who were being disturbed by noise and other anti-social behaviour. It exercised its common law rights to serve an eviction notice on 11th August.
On 12th August, the caravans and work lorries left the site voluntarily in a peaceful manner under the supervision of a bailiff and the attending neighbourhood police. The water supply was switched on to allow the caravans to take on water before departure.
Mandy MacVean, Rector of St Lawrence Effingham and All Saints Church Little Bookham, commented:
We are a welcoming community and wish everyone well who visits our village. Although uninvited we were willing to show our visitors kindness and help them as they passed through. Sadly our hospitality was abused and the PCC had no option in the interests of hall users and the wider community to take steps for the removal of our visitors. I am grateful for the assistance from the neighbourhood police and am very sorry for the disruption to the village that has been caused.
12th August 2020
Issued by Reverend Mandy MacVean on behalf of Parochial Church Council of the Parish of St Lawrence Effingham with All Saints, Little Bookham
Church Street, Effingham, Surrey KT24 5LX
Tel: 01372 451697