Waltham St Lawrence Gypsy families warned of eviction costs

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Gypsy families due to be evicted from a site in Berkshire have been warned they could face a bill for hundreds of thousands of pounds in removal costs.

The 40-plus people on the unauthorised plot at Waltham St Lawrence have until 18 March to leave before enforcement officers and police step in.

Windsor & Maidenhead councillor MJ Saunders said the council was determined to recover taxpayers' money.

The Gypsy Council said the families would seek a judicial review.

Mr Saunders, cabinet member for planning and property at the Conservative-controlled Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Council, said he estimated the total cost to the authority to be "few hundred thousand pounds".

'Heartless'

He said the costs would include employing bailiffs and removal equipment, keeping items in safe storage and "scraping off" hard materials laid down as road surface in order to restore the land to its original state.

The 10 families on the site at Five Oaks Farm, Shurlock Road, were served with a 28-day eviction notice following a council cabinet meeting last week.

They own the land and moved there in December 2009.

Gypsy Council chair Joseph Jones, who has been in contact with the travellers on the site, said they did not accept the council's decision to reject planning permission and evict the families.

"We are going to seek a judicial review," he said.

He added he had "no idea" if the travellers had a plan of action if they were to be evicted, but said the council would be "heartless" to remove "local residents" from their land.

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