Page last updated at 13:59 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 14:59 UK

Evicted Somerset gypsy family move to roadside

Arthur Hughes and his grandson Charlie
Arthur Hughes said he could not move into a house

A Somerset gypsy family who were ordered to leave their land have said they would rather live by the side of the road than go to a council site.

The Hughes family have owned the land in Martock for 15 years but were ordered by the High Court to leave by 9 April after a lengthy planning dispute.

South Somerset District Council said it had found the family space on a gypsy camp in Ilton.

But the family have refused to move there, saying it was too dangerous.

Although two families have left the Gawbridge site and found land to settle on elsewhere, four people, including a 21-year-old disabled man, have moved onto the road by the land.

'In a cage'

The family sought retrospective planning permission for the site 11 years ago but were turned down after an Environment Agency report said the area could be prone to flooding.

Arthur Hughes, 68, said: "We wouldn't go in no houses, this is how we were brought up. I'm a proper gypsy, and I'm proud to be a gypsy and to put a gypsy in a house is like catching a wild bird and put them in a cage."

Hughes' caravans on the side of the road
The Hughes' family have lived on the land for 15 years

While Mr Hughes' daughter Lucy said: "It's horrible - it's dangerous, the kids can't play, there's no water - they're isolated."

Ms Hughes added that no-one had visited the family to check whether they had left the land.

A spokesperson for the council said as the family had vacated the Gawbridge site, the planning issue was resolved and it had upheld its obligations to find them somewhere to stay.

She said they had made the changes to the Ilton site, that the family had suggested, however it was up to the family whether they chose to live there.

The road is owned by Somerset Highways, which said it was going to assess the situation.

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