Sudbury: Travellers face court action after refusing to move on

RESIDENTS of a housing estate on the outskirts of Sudbury have been left frustrated after travellers who have been camped on their doorstep for the past two weeks failed to respond to an official notice instructing them to leave.

The unauthorised encampment of around 12 vehicles has been parked on vacant land owned by Suffolk County Council, which is opposite a children’s playground on Aubrey Drive.

Last week - after more than 40 residents concerned about noisy generators, loud music and screeching vehicles attended a Chilton Parish Council meeting to voice their fears - a multi-agency group including county and district councils, police and Suffolk’s gypsy and traveller liaison officer, promised urgent action.

Babergh took noise enforcement action, and last Friday, the travellers were served a ‘direction to leave’ notice prepared by the gypsy and traveller liaison service, instructing them to vacate the land by August 14.

However, the group failed to respond and residents have been left frustrated by the perceived lack of action.

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Last night, none of the travellers at the site would comment on the situation.

Chairman of Chilton Parish Council, Peter Clifford, said: “They were due to go on Tuesday but as of this morning, there are seven caravans and other related vehicles still on the site. Legal action is being started and we understand there will be a court hearing on Monday.

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“We hope they will move on very shortly as this is causing distress to local residents in the area who are being plagued with noise and hygiene issues.”

One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “What is the point of serving official notices if they can just be ignored. Despite being issued a noise abatement notice, there was still a lot of noise coming from the site until midnight last night.”

He added: “When we bought our homes, we were told we couldn’t even park a caravan on our driveways. And now we are having to put up with this right on our doorstep and it seems there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said they were following the correct legal steps, adding: “The county council served the travellers with an initial notice which they ignored. So this morning, they have been served with a contravention notice which means that on August 20, we will request a court order for them to leave, or be removed from the site.”

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