ONE HUNDRED Meriden villagers lined the streets outside Birmingham High Court on Thursday to protest against the appeal by local gypsies.
The travellers, led by Noah Burton, were challenging Secretary of State for Communities Eric Pickless decision to refuse planning permission for their Eaves Green Lane camp.
Members of Residents Against Inappropriate Development, RAID, chanted 'Protect the Meriden Gap' and waved banners stating 'Dismiss the Appeal' outside the courts in Bull Street in Birmingham city centre, while local MEP Nikki Sinclaire had a van drive round with the message 'Dismiss The Appeal. Protect Our Greenbelt'.
During the hearing, Alan Masters, representing Mr Burton, spent a considerable amount of time attempting to move the case to London, claiming that his clients would not receive a fair and impartial hearing in Birmingham.
But Judge Robert Owen dismissed the application and the appeal was adjourned until Tuesday, March 27 when he will also hear an application from Solihull Council for an injunction to evict the travellers, continuing until Wednesday, March 28.
RAID leader David McGrath claimed the attempt to relocate the appeal was simply a delaying tactic.
"It's the same old Dale Farm trick of throwing a spanner in the works to stretch out proceedings to a glacial pace," he said.
"They lodge appeal after appeal, funded through legal aid, while we've paid for those challenges three times over; through council tax because of planning enquiries, through government tax because of legal aid and the community has raised £70,000 to fund our own legal challenge.
"It's a disgrace. The time has come for a conclusion."
He also urged the court to hear the case in a larger courtroom on Tuesday and Wednesday after just one RAID member was allowed in to proceedings.