Travellers move on to village common

By David GreenA CONSERVATION group has taken legal advice after a group of travellers moved on to a village common that is a designated nature reserve.

By David Green

A CONSERVATION group has taken legal advice after a group of travellers moved on to a village common that is a designated nature reserve.

The travellers began arriving on Mellis Common, near Eye, during Wednesday night after moving from Stowupland Common, where the parish council was threatening legal action.

About a dozen caravans, together with lorries and cars, were parked yesterday on the eastern end of Mellis Common, a designated County Wildlife Site.


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The lord of the manor of that part of the common is Suffolk Wildlife Trust, which received yesterday a number of calls from residents reporting the presence of the travellers.

It was considering last night what legal moves to take. Steve Aylward, manager of the trust's nature reserves, said: “It is likely we will seek a court order for the travellers to move off.”

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He added the travellers were camped on grassland important for green winged orchids and other uncommon plant species.

“They won't do any damage while it stays dry, but if it turns wet, the land will cut up,” said Mr Aylward.

Hilary Butler, parish council clerk, said she had received a string of calls from residents as the travellers began arriving.

“Our phone was red hot. The parish council is concerned because it is upsetting local people,” she added.

A spokesman for the travellers said the group intended to stay for a week or 10 days.

“We will not be causing any nuisance and we will not be leaving litter behind,” he added.

A Mid Suffolk District Council spokeswoman said it would only become involved if it received complaints a public or environmental nuisance was being caused.

“When the travellers left Stowupland, they left virtually no litter. We gave them black plastic bags and they filled them up,” she added.

Mellis Common is one of the biggest village greens in the country. It has two lords of the manor, one of them being a local resident, Alan Spence.

Travellers camping on the common have caused controversy for many years, but previous incidents have involved only a few caravans, mainly horse-drawn.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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