Sheffield travellers face eviction after losing legal fight to remain on land near former Ski Village
Travellers living near to the former Ski Village site now face eviction after they lost a legal battle to remain on the land.
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 City Council (SCC) 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 yesterday, after Judge Graham Robinson ruled in their favour.
Judge Robinson’s judgement came after the case was heard at Sheffield County Court last year.
Speaking after the hearing, Jim Steinke, cabinet member for communities and safer neighbourhoods, said the council had not set a date for eviction.
He said: “I think it’s about being reasonable, there are children on the site, and I would hope that any next steps would involve the moving off of the site without disruption to the children, so in terms of school holidays, and we need to work that out with the relevant parents involved.
“We also need to make sure that the people who want to move on, whether that’s to a similar type of accommodation or a different type of accommodation, are given the space to enable that to happen.”
He added: “I would like to thank the judge for the decision he has made today and the clarity it provides for both the council and the new age travellers.
“We have always said we want this case to be heard fairly and impartially for the benefit of the community who live at Parkwood and for the wider population of Sheffield. We will now consider next steps and communicate these with all concerned in the near future.”
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, costing £22.5million, 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’.
He said: “In my judgement, it is obvious that no developer would be prepared to undertake the task of developing a site such as this, without being guaranteed vacant possession of all of it.”
The travellers currently live in a variety of structures on the site, including camper vans and caravans.
In his judgement, Judge Robinson described the travellers as ‘delightful people who have decided that bricks and mortar are not for them, or where applicable, their families’.
He said: “They appear to have worked hard to establish the site as a real alternative living space. Some caravans are fitted with solar panels.
“Others rely upon bottled gas. Water is either bought in or obtained from a nearby hydrant. Organic toilets have been constructed.
“I discerned a real sense of community.”