Outrage at "devastation" left at school playing field vacated by travellers

Outrage at "devastation" left at school playing field vacated by travellers

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The site formerly used by travelers next to the Primary school in Clayton

UNWELCOME VISITORS: Travellers have moved on to the field next to the cricket club in Clayton

First published in News
Last updated

Travellers have caused outrage after leaving "devastation" at a school playing field - and then moving to a site just half-a-mile down the road.

Building rubble, human excrement, piles of rubbish, doors, a fridge, fence panels, a sofa and children's toys were among items that could be seen strewn across the field off Bradford Road, Clayton, yesterday.

The group first arrived at the site at the beginning of July, forcing Clayton Church of England Primary School to postpone its summer fete until September.

A court order has forced them to leave the site - but now they have set up camp behind Green Top Nursery, on Clayton Lane.

Councillor Sinead Engel (Lab, Clayton and Fairweather Green) said the paperwork was started yesterday in relation to removing the travellers from the site behind the nursery.

She added: "There is a wider issue that there are not a lot of official travelling sites for them to go to. Neighbouring authorities do not have sites, they just wash their hands of all responsibility and leave it on Bradford's shoulders."

But residents were not so understanding. One man, who did not want to be named, said: "It is the first time in 50 years we have had travellers in Clayton and we don't want them here. They caused havoc."

Another said: "Recently-departed travellers have left devastation on the playing fields. There are large piles of building rubble and piles of refuse around the field. They have disposed of chemical waste from their toilets in the bushes along the side of the field."

He added: "The attitude and actions of this group of travellers is completely unacceptable, but it seems they are allowed to act with impunity while we as a community are left to clean up after them once they move on."

Another resident said: "It's outrageous. If a court order moving them on is granted it should apply to the whole of the Bradford area, to be invoked the next time they re-appear. It shouldn't cost us hard working, law-abiding, Council Tax-paying citizens money again and again and again."

A parent whose child attends Green Top Nursery said the youngsters were not able to play outside yesterday because of the close proximity to the travellers. The nursery declined to comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, a fun day to help raise money towards a 15-year-old boy's fight against leukaemia will go ahead. The fun day is taking place on the site where the travellers are, but Luke Harrison's mum told followers of a Facebook page for her son that she had spoken to the travellers and they vowed to respect the July 27 event if they were still there.

Residents of Clayton held a meeting last night to discuss the travellers issue.

Meanwhile, travellers have also set up camp in Asa Briggs Park, Clayton Heights, next to Stocks Lane Primary School. Headteacher Nicky Kilvington said the travellers had caused no problems for the school.

Coun Paul Cromie (Ind, Queensbury) said: "The Council should make more provisions for travelling people, but I'm not condoning people illegally occupying land."

The Council has started legal proceedings to remove the travellers from the site.

A spokesman said: "We have begun the legal process to gain possession of the land at Asa Briggs Park."

In relation to the vacated Clayton site, the spokesman added: "Now that the travellers have moved on, the school is ensuring that the site is cleaned and secured ready for the school holidays."

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