MERIDEN residents fighting plans for a gypsy site in their village have welcomed visitors who are waging similar battles across the country.
A national conference was held on Saturday, with the community inviting campaigners from as far afield as Gloucester and the Lake District.
Since villagers started their struggle to stop the green belt development, in Eaves Green Lane, they’ve heard from others in the same predicament.
They’ve been in close contact with these groups, dotted around Britain, and decided to meet face-to-face to agree a “common manifesto”.
This will be used to lobby the Government about a change in the law, to protect rural communities from greenbelt developments.
David McGrath, Meriden RAID chairman, told the Solihull News that “dozens” of villages were in the same boat.
“We soon realised that the situation in Meriden had happened at many sites around the country,” he said.
“There seems to be a copy-cat approach to this type of development, often with damage to green belt or sites of outstanding natural beauty.”
While some delegates travelled hundreds of miles to the historic centre of England, others came from closer to home.
Meriden RAID has already been working closely with locals from Beausdale, in Warwickshire.
Discussions were held at the Heart of England Social Club, in Berkswell Road, with several politicians invited to speak.
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, North Warwickshire MP Dan Byles and MEP Nikki Sinclaire were among the guests.
But gypsy Noah Burton, who owns the Eaves Green Lane site, criticised campaigners after he was refused entry.
* Since gypsies moved onto the disputed land, members of Meriden RAID have mounted a 24-hour vigil - now in its 265th day.
It’s another two months until an appeal, by the gypsy family, goes to public inquiry.