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Last Updated: Monday, 8 November, 2004, 13:42 GMT
Travellers win High Court backing
Cottenham travellers' site
Travellers occupying 22 sites have launched a legal challenge
Travellers at a site in Cambridgeshire have won the right to take High Court action over council plans to evict them.

The High Court has allowed them to challenge South Cambridgeshire District Council's attempt to throw them off land at Smithy Fen in Cottenham.

About 22 applicants, who between them own 13 plots at Smithy Fen, were granted permission for the challenge.

The judge said the case was urgent, and the full hearing should go ahead soon.

However, the full judicial review is not expected to be heard until January. Until then, the council may not take action against anyone living on the site.

Quality of village life

Their argument is that they have a right to private and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.

But Judge Mr Justice Collins warned travellers generally that the courts "would not countenance" the growing practice of gypsies moving on to sites and setting up home before formally obtaining planning permission.

He described the practice as "aiming a pistol at the local authority's head".

The council has said it is only seeking to enforce the planning laws - at an estimated cost of 350,000 - and defend the interests of local residents.

Council leader Daphne Spink said recently: "The delaying tactics being employed by the illegally-camped travellers are very frustrating, but we will not be deterred.

"The people who suffer most in this protracted process are the people of Cottenham.

"The district council shares their concerns, and we are determined to do all we can to stand up for them and, indeed, to protect the quality of village life throughout South Cambridgeshire."




SEE ALSO:
Travellers still fight eviction
27 Oct 04 |  Cambridgeshire
Deadline up for travellers' move
24 Oct 04 |  Cambridgeshire
Travellers told to move from site
28 Sep 04 |  Cambridgeshire
Council victory in travellers row
17 Sep 04 |  Cambridgeshire
Land swap proposal for travellers
10 Aug 04 |  Cambridgeshire


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