Travellers moved off former Sheffield Ski Village site as fresh plans move a step closer

Travellers living near to the former Sheffield Ski Village site have been evicted six months after losing a legal battle to remain on the land.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 15:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 17:41 pm

Members of the group, who identify as ‘new travellers,’ moved onto the land at Parkwood Springs over 10 years ago, and believed they had ‘a tenancy at will or implied license’ to occupy the site.

Sheffield Council launched a legal fight to take full possession of the land off Pickering Road, and evict the travellers, in 2017.

The local authority won their battle in March, after Judge Graham Robinson ruled in their favour.

The former travellers' site at Ski Village

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Judge Robinson’s judgement came after the case was heard at Sheffield County Court last year.

The council carried out the eviction on Monday and thanked the travellers for their support.

Janet Sharpe, director of housing and neighbourhood services at Sheffield City Council, said: “I would like to thank the travelling community for the support they have shown our officers today and over the last few years we have been working with them.

“Our concern has always been to safeguard the welfare of the people who have camped here, including vulnerable people and children who have been living on land with no facilities.

“I am pleased with the way Monday’s eviction has gone. We are also aware that some of the community have moved elsewhere and are looking at the implications of this, as well as a full clear up of the Parkwood site."

Once the largest artificial ski resort in Europe, the Sheffield Ski Village opened in 1988 and was used by winter Olympians for training.

In 2012, a major fire ripped through the resort, the first of a series of blazes believed to be arson attacks.

The Village was subsequently closed, and the site fell into a state of disrepair.

A new winter sports development, creating 400 jobs is now planned for the site.

During the course of proceedings, the travellers argued there was no need for them to leave the site at this time, and said they would be able to move around to allow for site clearance and investigations.

But Judge Robinson ruled the travellers were ‘ignoring the commercial realities of the situation’.

Ms Sharpe said: “In March, Judge Robinson agreed with the council that we could issue eviction proceedings against the traveller community at Parkwood Springs. We have worked closely with the community there to understand their needs and give them the support they need to move on, whilst also respecting the wider needs of the people of Sheffield. We are pleased to see the community work closely with us – and that work to give them the support they need continues.

“Our work with the community at Parkwood continues to be fair, sympathetic and balanced with the needs of the wider Sheffield population and we have been continuing to support the people who live there since the court’s decision.

“Any steps to move the community on, and respond to their individual needs, have been communicated fully and in accordance with our duty to them all as Sheffield citizens. We have agreed to two extensions since the court ruling several months ago but needed to reclaim this land as we have plans to bring it back into use. We will continue to support them through this difficult time.”