Gypsies lose fight for meadowland homes

23 June 2005 20:59

Romany gipsies have lost their fight for permission to stay on meadowland in a Norfolk village - and have now got until November 11 to leave.

A public inquiry that finished on June 9 heard their case to put down hard-standing and keep caravans at the Middle Road site they own at Denton, near Harleston.

But now the inspector, Lucy Drake, has dismissed the appeal.

Stuart Shortman, solicitor for South Norfolk Council which turned down their planning application, said it would carry on talking to the gipsies.

"There are dates that have been set and extended by the authority and, as things stand, the date when we would expect the gipsies to leave is November 11. We will liaise closely with the local residents and the gipsies."

He did not expect any problems when it came to the gipsies moving on.

The inquiry at Long Stratton considered an appeal by Clifford Jay, Stephen Coates and Robert Smith on the council's refusal to allow retro-spective consent for hard-standing. They argued their human rights would be violated by a decision that forced the 30 adults and children back on the road, having arrived in October 2003.

Philip Brown, for the gipsies, argued that four children were now benefiting from a settled education for the first time in their lives, and allowing the settlement was preferable to an extended "return to itinerant roadside camping".

Denton Parish Council chairman Edwin Winter said villagers no longer felt confident walking their dogs or riding along Middle Road and there was genuine fear of repercussions that prevented people voicing their concerns. Other residents said the peaceful village atmosphere had been shattered.

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Amazing that, while everyone seems to fighting for Irish Gohjas in trailer on an illegal encampment in Essex no one seems to do anything to help Romanichal families that are being evicted or under threat of eviction.