Homeless man Brian Simmonds is to be evicted from his tent pitch near Rother Community College in Midhurst following a court ruling yesterday afternoon.
Mr Simmonds did not attend the hearing at Chichester County Court, in which district Judge Clarke found that Mr Simmonds had no right to be on land owned by West Sussex County Council.
Explaining her ruling, Judge Clarke said the decision was a ‘simple’ claim and not made on the assessment of Mr Simmonds’ ‘conduct or behaviour or allegations’, against which the absent Mr Simmonds could not offer a defence.
She took account of statements from Mr Dickinson from Chichester District Council and a representative for West Sussex County Council explaining the circumstances.
Judge Clarke said: “I understand from Mr Dickinson that he has been offered accommodation at least seven times and has refused it each time for a variety of reasons.
“Chichester District Council will continue to offer him accomodation whatever the circumstances will be.”
She added: “There is no entitlement to be there and there never was.”
Introducing the case, an officer for West Sussex County Council confirmed Mr Simmonds had turned down numerous housing offers but was ‘still on the list’ should he choose to co-operate.
She said: “I understand Mr Simmonds has been at that location for some time, but regrettably we were only informed very recently. “I think that was because he was initially tolerated by the residents of Midhurst, but more recently he’s fallen out of favour a bit.”
The ruling was made effective immediately, with the eviction to be carried out as soon as baliffs are available.
The county council representative present acknowledged that this may take a couple of weeks.
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