Traveller Families Have Left Dukes Meadows

Locals had complained about the caravans


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The group of traveller families who set up an encampment at Dukes Meadows, have left the area.

It is believed they left on Thursday having stayed in two locations in the popular recreational area for about two weeks.

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

Earlier this week the traveller families told they were not causing any problems and complained they had no proper halting site to move to.

A spokesman who gave his name as Jim, said they meant no harm to anyone and would probably move on soon anyway. 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 don't know when to leave them out for collection".

Several local people complained about the encampment to LBH and the Dukes Meadows Trust. We asked LBH for comment earlier this week but have not received a reply.

A spokesperson for the Trust said: "We are aware of the damage that Gunnersbury Park suffered when travellers stayed there, so we are concerned and hope that the council will work swiftly to move them on.

"We asked officers to close gaps in the logs protecting the meadows from parking, fly tipping and joy riding, but they were reluctant to do that, believing them to be not aesthetically pleasing. It has become increasingly difficult and time consuming to work with the council, which is to the detriment of the area. If this incident causes them to reflect and see the value of working with us that would be a good outcome."

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


October 3, 2014

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