TORY leaders have demanded new measures which could see travellers hit with on-the-spot fines if they pitch up in Southend.

Southend’s Conservative Group is calling on the council to introduce a Public Space Protection Order on all green spaces in the borough to give the authority more enforcement powers to prevent tents, caravans and motor homes from pitching up illegally.

The order would give the council the ability to enforce the ban using fines, which can escalate to prosecution in court if they are not paid.

Tory councillor Daniel Nelson it would demonstrate the council is willing to prioritise the protection of residents who often suffer from anti-social behaviour.

He said: “It is vitally important that as a council we prioritise the welfare of our residents in the borough who pay the council tax with their hard-earned cash.

“It is simply not fair for them to suffer anti-social or criminal behaviour that arises when people set up an unauthorised encampment.

“This order will give the council their vital powers to tackle these issues whilst it gathers evidence to apply for a borough wide injunction.”

The Tories have been calling for a borough-wide injunction - a blanket ban on travellers who set up illegally - that can be enforced by the police.

However, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Independent-led administration has consistently voted against the idea after legal officers said the injunction would not be authorised in court due to limited evidence.

The administration placed the blame on previous Tory administrations for failing to collect enough evidence of damage and criminal behaviour.

Council leader Ian Gilbert has said new systems have been implemented to ensure all evidence is now recorded.

Independent councillor Martin Terry, said the suggestion of a PSPO is a “clever idea” that he is willing to request legal advice on.

He continued: “I don’t know if this is possible but it is an idea and not something I would reject out of hand.

“If it’s feasible then it might be an idea to look at.”

However, he reiterated that an injunction is “not workable” based on legal advice the council has already received.