Gypsy campsite verdict delayed

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Gypsies who have been camping on Green Belt land near Doncaster for more than three years do not look like leaving any time soon after a High Court bid to evict them was delayed.

In an almost endless legal saga, the families have resisted all attempts by Doncaster Council to remove them from the site, off Moss Road, Askern, since they arrived there in their caravans in July 2009.

The council’s barrister, Saira Sheikh, told a top judge that, within days, the council obtained a High Court injunction blocking the arrival of any more caravans or mobile homes and banning settlement on neighbouring land.

The case has since been ploughing its way through the planning process, but Miss Sheikh said the families were finally ‘required to go’ in March this year and, since then, their presence on the land has been a criminal offence.

She told Mrs Justice Cox: “There are local residents to consider. They have waited patiently. At each stage of the process, they keep thinking that they have won when, of course, they haven’t.”

The council’s bid for a final eviction order was due to be heard at the High Court in London this week.

But the judge agreed to an adjournment at the request of the gypsies’ barrister, Alex Grigg.

Telling the judge that, if the families are moved on, “the alternative may be life on the roadside”, Mr Grigg said there was a need to gather expert evidence on the impact of eviction on children on the site, including some who “suffer severe deafness”.

Time was needed to obtain legal aid for the families prior to a High Court hearing that could last up to two days because it is a complex matter. The judge granted an adjournment to December.