Travellers defy eviction notice to stay in village

30-year-old Julie Smith, pictured with her two youngest children Timerea, four, and three-month-old Maleah-May. She is worried what will happen to her four children is they are evicted  Picture: Liz Mockler D2530LM
30-year-old Julie Smith, pictured with her two youngest children Timerea, four, and three-month-old Maleah-May. She is worried what will happen to her four children is they are evicted Picture: Liz Mockler D2530LM
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A COMMUNITY of travellers have defied a council eviction order and are now preparing for a legal battle to save their pitches.

The community, mainly made up of young families, moved onto the site in Moss Road, Askern, three-years-ago, but Doncaster Council has sought to kick them off, serving an eviction notice.

Mum-of-four Julie Smith, 30, now says she fears for her children as they could face being pulled out of school if they are forced to move.

She said: “My children are happy here and have friends at school, which can be difficult for traveller children to do.

“I just want them to have the life that I couldn’t.

“They can read better than me already and I want them to be able to get work, if I was applying for work all I would be able to get is a road sweeper job.”

The site contains six pitches for static or mobile caravans and is owned by the travellers who moved onto the site without planning permission.

They have had several retrospective applications turned down by council officers and at a judicial review following a Court of Appeal hearing.

Nathan Smith, 45, who also lives on the site, said the families have been given a bad name by TV show My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and would happily move onto another site if it was suitable for young families.

He said: “Since we moved in here we have had no problems with the police and the people around here know us and know there isn’t any bother.

“We have been offered pitches at Gibson Road in Thorne, but there has been a lot of trouble there.

“The council think it is another Dale Farm, but the last thing we want is children being manhandled to move out.”

The eviction notice expired on Monday and the Free Press understands the council is looking into what steps to take next.

Peter Dale the, council’s director of environment said: “People living at Moss Road have been doing so illegally for a number of years. “Their retrospective application for planning permission has been turned down at a court challenge and they have now exhausted the planning process.

“We have written to the travellers asking them to leave. This has not happened so we will take appropriate action to clear the site and uphold the law.”

Mr Dale added the families had declined the council’s offer of pitches at official sites but these remained available.