Traveller families to set up illegal camps after losing council planning battle

A traveller group have vowed to set up illegal camps across a whole county after losing a four-and-a-half year battle to live on their patch of land.

Six families have been based at the site in Winthorpe, Nottinghamshire since 2018, on land which they own but don't have planning permission to live on.

And now the group, which has previously won appeals at London's High Court, have been told by Newark and Sherwood District Council to leave after the decision was overturned last week.

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The families now say they will have no choice but to pitch up illegally by the roadside or in carparks after being given 14 months to vacate.

Gemma Lamb, a mum who lives on the site, said they would now be forced to break the law because the authority had not offered them an alternative location.

She disputed the Planning Inspectorate ruling that the land is too noisy for habitation and is also at risk of flooding from the nearby River Trent.

The 35-year-old claimed they've had no previous problems with noise or flooding, apart from a "few puddles" during periods of bad weather.

She said: "I want to apologise to the people of Newark now because we’ll have to pull on to the side of the road or set up in carparks if we are forced to leave.

“The council hasn’t offered us anywhere else to go. We are human beings too, the only difference being we live in tin boxes and you inside bricks and mortar."

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Gemma said her community is willing to do whatever it takes -whether that be putting up acoustic fencing to shield from the A46 or planting more trees to disguise the site.

She added: "We're not moving from Newark, this is our home. The people around here like us and we've never had any complaints."

Indeed, around 700 residents signed a petition supporting the decision to let the travellers stay put.

David Lloyd, leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said he sympathised with all those affected by the decision and added that the district council is continuing to work to identify suitable sites to meet the group's needs.

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