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Court bid to remove travellers from site

PUBLISHED: 14:03 13 August 2010

Gypsies at Kings hall Rd , Beckenham

Gypsies at Kings hall Rd , Beckenham

Archant

A travelling community which has set up 11 caravans on a disused sports field are facing eviction.

The owner of the field, next to Kings Hall Road, Beckenham, is challenging the ‘erection’ of the caravans at Bromley Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.

The travellers, believed to have moved there from Layhams Farm, on Layhams Road near Biggin Hill, began arriving at the unsecured site, next to Cator Park, late last month.

Thelma Hatton, who lives opposite the encampment, said: “At first there were only two or three caravans. Then by Friday there were about 11 and they are just 50ft from the road.

“From there they are so close they can see into our bedrooms and I have to keep our curtains closed.

John Getgood, Penge and Cator councillor, says that he has received a number of complaints from people who live near the site. He said: “I am frustrated rather than angry.

“It is a shame but to be fair there have not been any reports of damage or anti-social behaviour.

“We are hoping that it will all end peacefully within a week, if not we will have to take further action.”

He added: “I have heard that these families tend to move on once an eviction notice has been served.”

Bromley borough has traditionally had a higher than average Gypsy and traveller community due to its rural connections. One site near St Mary Cray is believed to the biggest community in Britain. A spokesperson for the council said its officers had contacted the owner of the land to encourage him to seek repossession of the land. She said: “We are concerned about this situation.

“Given this is not our land our powers are limited. However we are doing all we can to resolve the situation.”

tim.dickens@archant.co.uk

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