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APPEAL LETS TRAVELLERS STAY ON SITE.

Byline: Sam Dimmer

TRAVELLERS who set up camp on land in Meriden more than 18 months ago could stay on the site until well into next year.

Since the families arrived on land in Eaves Green Lane in 2010 they have been embroiled in a bitter battle with campaigners who set up their own protest camp nearby.

In October, the travellers lost an appeal against a planning decision banning them to build on the land - leading some residents to believe that their 543-day vigil was nearing an end.

But now solicitors acting on behalf of the travellers have lodged an appeal against the most recent decision.

While that appeal is being prepared Solihull Borough Council will return to the High Court in March to apply for permission to evict the travellers.

It means that campaigners may have to spend another Christmas in their makeshift camp. Alison Heine, a planning consultant acting on behalf of the travellers, said their legal team believed they had a strong case against the most recent appeal refusal.

But campaigner David Mc-Grath, from Meriden RAID, accused the travellers of "stringing out the legal process and tying everyone in knots using Dale Farm tactics to prolong their stay at the illegal site".

The group plan to deliver a tonne of string to tonight's full council meeting to protest at the latest delay.

Mr McGrath said: "It is a muddy quagmire at the site making the narrow lane very slippy and dangerous. There is daily harm to the green belt by the muddy mess that this illegal development is causing."

The campaigners want the council to go back to the court and ask them for an earlier hearing date.

Mr McGrath added: "It took two days to wreck part of our green belt site but it will take more than two years to sort out the battle. It is a disgraceful waste of taxpayers' money."

Campaigners have been embroiled in their own planning battle in recent months, after an application to keep their temporary shelter was refused. The original planning application was turned down because the council felt it constituted inappropriate development in the green belt.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Dec 6, 2011
Words:358
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