Council acts to evict travellers

By John HowardPARISH councillors are taking legal action to regain possession of their village green after a group of travellers set up camp on to the site.

By John Howard

PARISH councillors are taking legal action to regain possession of their village green after a group of travellers set up camp on to the site.

Up to 15 caravans and vehicles moved on to the Common in Stowupland on Sunday afternoon, sparking concern among residents.

Jean Collis, landlady of The Crown pub in the village, said: “People are on eggshells, everyone is talking about it. It's common land and they should not be on there.”

Mike Hawkins, landlord of The Retreat pub, added: “A lot of people are worried around here and I'm next door to it. They should not be on the green.”

The travellers said they were only going to be in the village for a few days, with some working in the area and others there for a holiday.

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One traveller, who declined to be named, said: “We were brought up with this way, the travelling life. People's husbands are going to work.”

Stowmarket police have received several complaints from the public about the travellers camped on the Common.

Inspector Jon Brighton, of Stowmarket police, said: “It is the responsibility of the landowners to pursue a civil action of trespass if they wish to remove this group of people from their land.

“We have held a meeting with the local council and will continue to work with the community, the council and the travellers themselves to resolve this matter.

“Patrols of this area are carried out on a regular basis and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Roger Carter, chairman of the parish council, was unavailable for comment yesterday, but a spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk District Council said: “The parish council are going to go ahead and seek an order granting possession of the land.

“It is a landowner's responsibility to take action to remove travellers or other trespassers who camp on their land.

“The parish council are the landowners. The district council has discretionary powers to direct travellers to leave land only if there is proof that they are causing an element of disturbance and public health nuisance, for example.”

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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