§ Mr. Cohen
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to evict residents in Cambridge Park road, Wanstead along the route of the M11 link road; when he expects such action to take place; what will be the likely cost of the operation; what steps he is taking to ensure that no violence or excessive force is used; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Norris
[holding answer 17 February 1994]: On 16 February squatters were removed from numbers 2–12 Cambridge Park road. Initial estimates of the cost of the operation are in the region of £200,000. Eight arrests were made, two by county court bailiffs, and six by the police of whom five were in connection with the anti-BNP Welling riots. No excessive force was employed by the authorities. The protestors were defying court orders to quit the properties. I regret that by their action they are prolonging the inevitable disruption suffered by the local community, deferring the very real benefits including reduction in local traffic, improvement in air quality, lower accident rates and better facilities for residents which the scheme will bring.
Expenditure on enforcement action denies expenditure on real benefits to the community, and I very much regret that given that the link road has been the subject of no less than three public inquiries, a small minority should so misguidedly inflict such damage on the local area.