Bid to evict travellers from site near church

Travellers have moved from Wetherby Ings to Clifford on the eve of an eviction notice being served.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 11:11 am
Leeds City Council has applied to evict travellers from Wetherby.

Wetherby ward councillors announced that the group, who arrived on the sports fields in Wetherby earlier this month, moved next to St Luke’s Church in Clifford on Tuesday.

In a Facebook statement on Tuesday, the Wetherby councillors Alan Lamb, Norma Harrington and Linda Richards said: “We are aware that the group of travellers who were due to be evicted from the Ings tomorrow have moved to the playing fields next to St Luke’s Church in Clifford. The police are aware.

“The chair of the parish council who owns the land is contacting travellers liaison at Leeds City Council for advice.

“We will do all we can to support the parish council.”

Leeds City Council had applied to the court to evict the encampment of ten caravans yesterday, Wednesday, following complaints made to ward councillors.

A city council spokesman said of the Ings encampment last week: “A request to West Yorkshire Police to use their powers to evict through the use of Section 61 of the Criminal Justice Public Order Act has been declined. This will be regularly reviewed by the local inspector.

“We will continue to work in partnership with the police and other agencies to limit the impact of this encampment.”

The authority urged people to report any activity deemed to be criminal or of anti-social nature to West Yorkshire Police on 101 or online at https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/report-it or the Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team, phone 0113 2224402.

Residents can also contact the Traveller Service Team for other matters. Dial 0113 3789237 or email [email protected]

A statement issued last week by Wetherby ward councillors about the Wetherby Ings situation said: “We are as frustrated and angry as the rest of the community that this situation continues.

“It simply cannot be right that anybody can illegally set up camp and deny access to the hundreds and hundreds of people that use it every day, showing a complete lack of respect to our community.

“There will be many lessons to learn and people that need holding to account.

“Our efforts are focused on trying to have the situation resolved as quickly as possible, ensuring the area is put back into use and made properly secure as quickly as possible.

“Then we will seek to find more permanent ways of addressing the issue without it negatively impacting so many people.”