TRAVELLERS camped in the Meriden greenbelt have been given three extra weeks to leave the land due to bad weather.
They originally had to leave the Eaves Green Lane site by Sunday (March 31), a date agreed with the High Court and Solihull Council last year.
But at an eleventh-hour hearing this week, Judge Justice Bean at Birmingham High Court extended the injunction for a further 21 days, until April 21, due to the ‘freezing conditions.’ He also gave the travellers until May to restore the site to its former condition.
The gypsies had also been due to take their case to London’s Court of Appeal last week, but this was dropped at the last minute. Noah Burton, leader of the travellers, said: “You can only do so much, even with legal aid, and we’re exhausting our funds.”
Meriden Residents Against Inappropriate Development (RAID) have vowed to continue their protest, which has been in progress since the gypsies moved onto the land in May 2010.
David McGrath, chair of the action group, said the council must act if the gypsies fail to leave voluntarily next month.
“We refuse to tolerate a Dale Farm situation where legal battles are won but the travellers simply stay put and the council do nothing for a decade,” he said.
“We have not won 18 legal and planning decisions, raised £90,000 and sat out in all weathers for over 1,000 days only to see the campaign fail due to council inaction. We hope it doesn’t come to that and trust that the council will act fairly and decisively but we are ready to act.”
Solihull-based MEP Nikki Sinclaire, who has supported RAID since the saga began, said the gypsies must now accept the order without further challenge.
*Gypsy site latest - page 13.