doncaster Council’s legal bid to force a group of travellers from their Green Belt site near Askern reached the High Court in London yesterday.
The authority has been trying to remove the caravans from the site in Moss Road since they arrived more than three years ago. But the travellers have refused, meaning the council has had to take the case to London seeking an injunction forcing them to leave.
Doncaster Council’s barrister, Saira Kabir Sheikh, claimed the travellers were guilty of ‘flagrant’ breaches of planning rules, amounting to criminal offences.
“The planning history shows the site was set up, first of all, in breach of planning control, without any attempt to make an application,” she said.
“The council has repeatedly visited the site and sent letters to the defendants. Housing officers have gone to the site and explained that they are now committing a criminal offence.”
She said there are no other suitable travellers’ sites in the council’s area and they had been offered ‘bricks and mortar’ homes, which have been refused.
The court heard travellers set up the camp over a Bank Holiday weekend in 2009 and were quickly served with a temporary injunction to stop them settling further.
The case has since involved planning applications and appeals, with an inspector finding that the camp is harmful to the Green Belt and visual amenity of the area.
Miss Sheikh said the cultural needs associated with the travellers’ status had been taken into account and other groups would have had no chance of being allowed to stay there.
The travellers are contesting the council’s bid to remove them. The hearing continues.