Court action looms over gypsy families

LEGAL action is under way in an attempt to remove 17 families who have moved on to a piece of land in Ipswich.

LEGAL action is under way in an attempt to remove 17 families who have moved on to a piece of land in Ipswich.

Ipswich Borough Council has initiated legal proceedings against the families after they parked their caravans and mobile homes on a grassy area just south of the Ravenswood housing development.

The families, who said they were gypsies rather than travellers, arrived late on Saturday or early on Sunday, parking up just off the road leading to Orwell Country Park.

Today they urged for better facilities for travelling families.

Mick Lee, 40, who is acting as a spokesperson for the families, said: “It's all about appearance and preconceptions.

“We're not saying people can't walk here, it's public property but we think every local authority should make provisions and have a site for travellers to pull in and out of because 95per cent of caravan sites won't let us in.”

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Ipswich Borough Council officers held a meeting with counterparts from Suffolk County Council as well as officers from Suffolk police and a representative from a local residents group yesterday to consider what action could be taken.

Once it was decided there were no vulnerable people within the families, such as children in need of care or elderly people, the borough council was clear to proceed with legal action.

A spokesman for the council said: “We will be taking legal action to move them from Ravenswood.”

Notices were due to be served on each of the families yesterday, giving them three working days before the cases go to South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

The council spokesman said: “We will go into court and ask for possession of the land back.”

If the council is successful the court will appoint a bailiff to take possession of the land.

The spokesman said: “We have done everything as quickly as possible but there are processes we have to go through to get possession back.”

What do you think of the situation at Ravenswood? E-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk or write to The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.