Travellers vow to defy eviction
By James HoreTRAVELLERS who are set to be evicted from the land they have been occupying have vowed not to leave their homes. Contractors are due this morning to clear the Meadowlands travellers' site in Little Waltham, near Chelmsford.
By James Hore
TRAVELLERS who are set to be evicted from the land they have been occupying have vowed not to leave their homes.
Contractors are due this morning to clear the Meadowlands travellers' site in Little Waltham, near Chelmsford.
About 30 adults and children are living on the land in Cranham Road and have been served eviction notices by Chelmsford Borough Council, which said they had been occupying the area illegally.
But the travellers, who have been there since 2001, said the land had been bought with an understanding they had planning permission.
Earlier this month the council gave the travellers 21 days to leave the site, but they refused, so the specialist contractors will now move in to clear the mobile homes and restore the area to farmland.
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However, the travellers have been preparing for the confrontation by digging ditches and blocking entrances with hardcore.
They expect to have a large group of supporters backing them in their defiant stance this morning, while families have also pledged to padlock themselves to their mobile homes to prevent eviction.
Jim McCann, whose family have been at the Cranham Road site since 2002, said they did not want to be on the road again as their children were all attending the local school.
Mr McCann, 30, added: "They want to forcefully remove us from our ground and put us on the road. We are all prepared to be arrested, but then the children will not be able to go to school.
"I bought the land in good faith, thinking we could stay – there are a lot of people who have put everything into these plots.
"We want to stay for life here, really. All we want is a place to live like everyone else and would pay our taxes."
Mr McCann said the travellers had faced problems because their post was no longer being delivered, meaning important letters from teachers and doctors remained at the sorting office.
Chelmsford Borough Council said the land use was unauthorised and it felt sufficient time had been given for the travellers to leave the site.
Essex Police said officers would be sent to the site to ensure there were no breaches of the peace while the contractors cleared the land.