Travellers set up camp on Southwold Common

A GROUP of travellers say they will be staying in a coastal Suffolk town despite being requested to leave by irate residents.

A convoy of caravans pitched up on the common in Southwold on Sunday afternoon, and so far their occupants have ignored calls for them to move on, insisting they will being staying put for a week.

But many townsfolk are incensed by their arrival, including John Miller, chairman of the Common Trust, which looks after the patch of land, who has vowed to seek a court order to have them removed.

Mr Miller said he was “stunned” by the arrival of the eight caravans and assorted vehicles on Sunday afternoon.

And he confirmed that action had already been taken to start the process of “moving on” the group of travellers.

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He said: “It’s never happened before – it’s all a great shock.

“They are travellers, there’s no question about that. They came yesterday (Sunday) and there are now eight caravans, several vehicles, four vans, eight horses and many dogs.

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“They apparently tried to get into the caravan site which is run by Waveney (District Council) but the police were there.

“And after that the police didn’t follow them out of town and the finished up on our common.”

But Mr Miller said he was not concerned that the arrival would put off tourists, a vital element of the town’s summer economy.

He added: “They won’t even see it. They arrive and go down to the beach, go along the promenade and up the pier.”

One traveller yesterday suggested that he and his companions had been the victims of persecution but insisted that they had no plans to move on and would be remaining on the common until this Sunday.

Mr Miller meanwhile said the trustees had met early yesterday morning and agreed that it was an “impermissible encampment” on the common and action needed to be taken.

He said: “I, along with two policemen and the clerk of the trust, went and served notice on them to quit. We stuck that on several different caravans.

“That’s the first step already, the second step will be that we will apply for a court order. The people of Southwold are very disturbed.”

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