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'I'm going nowhere,' says Traveller ordered to leave site after 40 years

PUBLISHED: 10:35 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:36 19 June 2019

William Brazil at the Swanton Road Travellers' site in Mile Cross, Norwich. He has lived on the site since the 1970s but is in a legal dispute with the council about who owns the land. Photo: Archant

William Brazil at the Swanton Road Travellers' site in Mile Cross, Norwich. He has lived on the site since the 1970s but is in a legal dispute with the council about who owns the land. Photo: Archant

Archant

A Traveller has lost a court battle to stay on land he has occupied for decades - but says he will ignore an order to leave.

William Brazil at the Swanton Road Travellers' site in Mile Cross, Norwich. He has lived on the site since the 1970s but is in a legal dispute with the council about who owns the land. Photo: Archant William Brazil at the Swanton Road Travellers' site in Mile Cross, Norwich. He has lived on the site since the 1970s but is in a legal dispute with the council about who owns the land. Photo: Archant

Norfolk County Council has given William Brazil until Wednesday to leave his plot at the Swanton Road Travellers' Site in Mile Cross, after winning a legal row.

The dispute centres on who owns the land at Swanton Road.

Mr Brazil, whose family has lived on the site since the 1970s, was paid by Norfolk County Council to look after the area until 2017 and as part of that deal has never paid rent on it. He claims the land is his.

But a tribunal has ruled Norwich City Council owns the site, which it leases to the county council to manage, and therefore Mr Brazil must pay rent dating back to 2017.

In April a tribunal ruled in the council's favour and ordered Mr Brazil to leave the plot and pay court costs which run into several thousand pounds.

The entrance to the travellers site next to the Mile Cross Recycling Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe entrance to the travellers site next to the Mile Cross Recycling Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The county council said last week it would allow Mr Brazil to stay on a different plot on the site, and not go after him for the court costs, if he agreed to a set of conditions by Wednesday.

Those conditions include agreeing to pay rent and charges and withdrawing all court claims.

The county council said in a letter to him that if he agreed it would also look at improving the site.

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They added: "Your options are very limited, You either accept the offer… or you will be evicted."

But Mr Brazil, 57, has rejected the offer and said he would only leave if the city council could prove it owned the land, something he says it has failed to do, despite the legal ruling in its favour.

He said: "This has been my home for 43 years so I don't know what I'm going to do.

"All I ask them to do is show me the deeds or any other document that shows they actually own the land; then I will pay rent and sign a tenancy agreement.

"They are also saying they are not going to improve the site until I give up; that is discrimination against every gypsy on this site."

He also accused the county council of overcharging for water and managing the site "incompetently". His case regarding water charges is due to be heard on Friday.

The council said in the letter it had sympathy for Mr Brazil but claimed he had been "misled" by his advisor Stuart Carruthers.

Mr Carruthers responded by stating the council's letter to Mr Brazil was "atrocious".

A county council spokesman said: "Mr Brazil's claim of ownership... has been completely rejected by the property tribunal.

"The county council is now entitled to obtain a warrant, instruct bailiffs and remove him and his property."

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