Berkshire

Waltham St Lawrence Gypsy eviction to cost £300,000

An authority has set aside £300,000 to evict 10 Gypsy families from a site in Berkshire.

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

The travellers were served with an eviction notice by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in February.

Gypsy Council chair Joseph Jones has described the travellers as local residents who should not be evicted.

The families moved onto the site at Five Oaks Farm in mid-December 2009.

'Direct action'

A council spokesman said: "The 28-day notice served on the owner and occupants of the site - that the council will take direct action to clear the land if they do not leave voluntarily - ends on Tuesday 19 March.

"The council also continues to work with the occupants to find a satisfactory solution leading to the site being cleared."

Costs 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 council served an injunction on 22 December, 2009 limiting the number of caravans to the 10 already on the site and banning any development.

An enforcement notice - requiring any buildings or structures without planning permission to be removed - was issued on 24 December, 2009.

The council then rejected an application in July 2010 for 17 free-standing or static caravans.

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