Traveller Families Set Up Camp In Dukes Meadows

Locals complain as caravans parked near clubs and playground


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A group of traveller families have set up an encampment at Dukes Meadows, the popular local recreational spot.

The traveller families have claimed to they are not causing any problems and complained they have no proper halting site to move to.

The five caravans have been parked in a lay-by opposite Kings House playing fields for the past two days. Prior to that they spent about a week at the other end of Dukes Meadows near a rowing club they said. Local people have complained about the encampment being near several sports clubs and close to allotments and the playing fields and playground.

A spokesman who gave his name as Jim, said they meant no harm to anyone and would probably move on soon again. They were a small family group, originally from Liverpool and had nothing to do with other families such as those on Dale Farm, he said.

He added they had been visited by an official who gave them a letter telling them to depart the area but they did not believe this had any legal validity. The police had also told them they would have to move.

His wife Anne, who has six children, said they were looked down upon by the community and had fewer rights than other groups. She said Councils did not provide them with proper places to stay. "I was born here and all my kids were born in the UK- but we've no rights." she said.

"We keep moving because that's our tradition but when we stop there's nowhere for us to pull in. A man came and gave us black bin bags for our rubbish but it's no good as the foxes will destroy the bags and we dont know when to leave them out for collection".

Several local people have complained about the encampment to LBH and the Dukes Meadows Trust. We have asked both LBH and the Trust for comment.

Councillor Sam Hearn has emailed the Lead Member at LBH, as well as the Council Leader and Chief Executive on the matter and asked for confirmation that appropriate action had been and is being taken by the Council and the police.


September 30, 2014

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