DCSIMG

Three-year green belt Gypsy saga finally comes to an end

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A three-year battle to get rid of Romani Gypsy families who have been living without permission on green belt land in south Warwickshire seems to have come to an end.

The families, who moved on to the site in Kites Nest Lane in Beausale in April 2010, have left the land and taken their caravans away, following an order from the High Court demanding that they do so.

The order also states that the Gypsies must restore the land to the condition it had been in before they moved on to it. Warwick District councillor Sue Gallagher, whose ward includes Beausale, says that they have not yet done so, but they still have another month left.

She said: “Before they moved on to the site, it was a very wet piece of land which was not suitable for a pony, but it is a field in the green belt - that’s what this battle has been about.

“On the night they moved on to the site, they put hundreds of tonnes - lorry loads - of hard core down to enable them to put caravans there. They also moved two septic tanks on to the site.

“If they do not restore it to its previous condition, they will be in contempt of court, which is very serious. But I think they will.”

Cllr Gallagher said that the council’s enforcement officers are “keeping an eye on it very carefully”, while the Friends of the Green Belt (FROG) campaign group remains active.

She added: “Although it has taken three years, they have now done what the courts have asked them to. There will be sites for Gypsies and travellers in the Local Plan, but they are very difficult to find.”

• Separately, Stratford District Council’s planning committee has approved an application by Warwickshire County Council to use a former chipping store in Daventry Road, Southam, as a temporary site for up to 12 Gypsies or traveller caravans to stay for up to 28 days while an alternative site is sought.

 

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