05:02AM, Wednesday 10 April 2013
Direct action is to be taken by the Royal Borough to clear an illegal traveller site in Shurlock Road.
A 48-hour notice to leave the site was issued to the 40-plus occupants yesterday following a meeting of the cabinet prioritisation sub committee.
Council officers and a specialist enforcement team will begin clearing the site on Monday after it was decided to give the families an additional weekend to leave voluntarily.
Cllr MJ Saunders, cabinet member for planning and property, said: "We have taken a diligent, cautious, sympathetic and thorough approach in coming to this decision.
"However the case remains that this site is unauthorised and the law-abiding residents of Waltham St Lawrence have lived alongside this settlement for more than three years."
The clearing which will include the removal of all caravans, amenity units, fencing and other traveller paraphernalia.
The council has put aside £300,000 to clear the site having already incurred £100,000 in legal costs dealing with the problem.
Travellers had made a last ditch-attempt to avoid being evicted as they made passionate pleas to councillors at the town hall meeting.
"All we want at the end of the day is a place to live," said traveller Luke Stevens.
"I have got a lot of friends in the area. There lives are a lot different because they have had stability which is what we want for our kids.
The travellers have ignored repeated enforcement orders to leave the site forcing the council to evict them.
The latest notice period expired in March.
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