July 22 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Travellers camped by the main road into a Costessey housing estate have left the site.
A convoy of caravans, trucks and vans moved onto land off Sir Alfred Munnings Road, by the Queens Hills estate, earlier this week.
There were around a dozen people in the group and they insisted they would leave the site spotless, but their arrival sparked complaints from residents who said they felt intimidated.
The group has now moved on, leaving a pile of rubbish including empty drink cans and disposable barbecues.
South Norfolk Council confirmed that workers will clear up the waste today.
A spokesman said while the work will be carried out by council staff, costs will be met by the Queens Hills Consortium of developers
Police and South Norfolk Council officers were made aware of the incursion earlier this week, and the group were ordered to leave by Tuesday - after an application by the private landowners.
Hilary Elias, clerk of Costessey Parish Council, said many residents were in touch about the encampment yesterday.
“My phone has been red hot,” she said.
It is the latest in a series of incursions by the pumping station, and developers from the Queens Hills consortium plan to install bollards in the near future to prevent unlawful access.
The Travellers had been moved on from Bowthorpe, and said they had been unable to get a spot at a permanent site in the county.
One of the group, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “We clean everything up before we leave.
“A lot of people past here have been beeping their horns and harrassing us.
“There’s a woman in there ready to have her baby any day. She keeps getting moved and it’s not nice.”
Another Traveller, Duncan Johnston, 27, said he had been speaking to various councils about getting a house but had been unsuccessful so far.
“It’s just stress,” he added.
He said the group had been to their current spot by Queens Hills at least 10 times before.
The group said they planned to move to a new £400,000 temporary transit site near Costessey Park and Ride which is due to open within weeks.
It was funded half and half by central government and South Norfolk Council.
Maximum stay on the site is 12 weeks, and Travellers will be charged rent while they are there.
Keren Wright, who runs the Norfolk and Suffolk Gypsy Roma and Traveller service, said district and borough councils have a statutory duty to provide accomodation for Travellers, but there is no duty to provide transit sites.
There are seven permanent sites in Norfolk, including Roundwell in Costessey, but most of these are full and have waiting lists.
The new Costessey transit site will be the fifth of its kind in the county.
“With the amount of encampments we get on Queens Hills, I’m sure the Costessey encampment will be well received,” said Ms Wright.