June 20 2013 Latest news:
By Matt Gaw
Friday, November 16, 2012
A NOTICE to quit has been served on travellers who have pulled onto a town centre car park.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council bosses said they would launch court proceedings if the ten caravans in St Andrews Street North car park in Bury St Edmunds have not left by Monday.
Councillors, who say the travellers are planning to leave on Sunday after some of their group return from a funeral in Newcastle, are now taking action to make sure illegal sites can be removed more quickly.
David Nettleton, Independent St Edmundsbury councillor for Risbygate, said a case conference into the camp, which was set up on Sunday, only took place on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr Nettleton, described the situation as a “growing problem” as the town’s car parks become increasingly busy with festive shoppers.
He added: “I am sure they will go. But the problem is where will they go?
“What I am asking for now is a case conference on Monday afternoon in case they have moved to another car park so it can be sorted before the end of the week. With the build up to Christmas and the Christmas Fayre on the weekend of the 24, we are going to need every car parking space we have got.”
Mr Nettleton said the ten vehicles, which were previously pitched at Ram Meadow, are taking up 20 spaces, costing the council £60 a day in lost revenue.
Residents in nearby Bishops Road said they were “furious” that the travellers had spent so long on the site and complained about noise coming from the camp’s generators.
Michael Lee, one of the travellers at St Andrews Street, said the group are members of one family and did not want to be “living in car parks.”
He added: “We just do not have a choice. There is just no where else for us to go. If there was a proper pitch we would use it.
“We have got small children and we want them to go to school. It is hard.”
Anne Gower, Cabinet member for Housing at St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “A joint Gypsy and Traveller Strategy is being developed between Norfolk and Suffolk, with an action for councils to identify potential transit sites. “Historically St Edmundsbury has few travellers in transit and is not planning any council run sites, but these may be forthcoming from other authorities. In the meantime we are in touch with the group in St Andrews car park.”