A traveller living near the former Sheffield Ski Village has claimed a series of fires at the site may be due to methane leaking from a former landfill site.
Roy Harrington was speaking as a County Court hearing coninued with Sheffield Council seeking full possession of land around the site, which is currently occupied by new age travellers.
Mr Harrington, who lives just off Pickering Road, said he was not against the council’s plans for a £22.5 million leisure facility but warned that a series of fires at the site may be linked to the former Parkwood Springs landfill site.
When being cross examined by the council’s barrister Emma Godfrey, Mr Harrington said: “I am not against your plans but did the ski slope not fail because of a lack of visitors and access?”
Sheffield Ski Village closed in 2012 following a huge fire and there have been a series of blazes since its closure. It has also been plagued It has been plagued by arson attacks and vandalism.
Mr Harrington added: "I think there is a possibility that some of these fires may be because of methane leaking from the tip.
“I know there are kids that mess about but I have seen fires kick off there and there are no kids. Possibly, the whole ski slope buring down was the methane leaking out of the tip – I think that’s possible.”
The council claims it needs possession of the land at Parkwood Springs but the travellers, who have lived on the site for around 14 years, claim a council decision to start legal proceedings to movethem off the site was ‘unlawful’.
Judge Robinson also heard from Tim Watt, who has lived on Wallace Road for the last 11 to 12 years. He claimed that not only did a lot of the travellers want to move into housing, but that there were none available.
Earlier this week, Ms Godfrey said the council claimed it needed ownership of the land to deliver ‘a scheme for the benefit of the wider population of Sheffield’.
Proposals for the leisure facility include new slopes and a lift for skiing, snowboard and sledding zones, a zip line, cycle tracks, a country park and an amphitheatre.
But Stephen Cottle, representing the travellers, claimed the council’s decision was unlawful and that a certifcate to use the land for residential use had been obtained.
The case continues, with final submissions due to be made on Monday, October 8.