A LOCAL councillor has stepped out in support of gypsies who are occupying green belt land in Meriden.
Councillor Dr Peter Lea (Con, Meriden) said he felt for both the residents living in his ward, and
the travellers: “The travellers are all local people,” said Dr Lea. “There was a split within the family which meant they split, and went their separate ways – but they are all originally from Balsall Common. I know this for a fact because I used to be their doctor, and they visited my surgery.”
It is believed that the gypsies – who want to build a camp site on the green-belt land – will appeal last Wednesday’s decision by Solihull Council to refuse them planning permission.
The travellers arrived at the Eaves Green Lane site on April 30, and since then, local campaigners have been maintaining a 24-hour vigil at the site. The group, calling themselves Residents Against Inappropriate Development (RAID), are aiming to stop the Romany Gypsies from building, without permission from the council.
“There needs to be a degree of harmony and understanding,” added Dr Lea. “This was not a case of the council giving in to the travellers – they are just normal people like us, and deserve to have hygienic facilities. But at the same time just because you’ve bought a field it doesn’t mean you can build whatever you like on it.”