Gypsies have a week to leave land

Nov 10 2005

GYPSIES occupying land in Leatherhead have just over a week to move off the site before facing possible eviction.

The gypsies have been living on the site in River Lane for two-and-a-half years.

In November last year, after 18 months of occupying the land in defiance of planning laws, the group was served with an eviction notice from Mole Valley District Council, giving them a year to move on.

It came as a bitter result for the families who bought the land for £56,000.

The council, had wanted the gypsies to leave within three months, but the office of the Deputy Prime Minister concluded this was inadequate and extended it to 12 months.

The deadline, of November 18, is now fast approaching.

The council's legal adviser, Chris Harris, said: "They were served with an enforcement notice back in December 2003."They applied against the refusal of planning permission, but they lost their appeal.

"We've been speaking to them about alternatives, including other sites which are not in our district, and also offered them applications for conventional housing."