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MERIDEN protesters have welcomed the council’s decision to block travellers from setting up a builder’s yard next to their camp.

A planning application was lodged to change the field next to the Eaves Green Lane gypsy camp, from its official agricultural listing to a commercial builders yard.

A planning application was lodged to change the field next to the Eaves Green Lane gypsy camp, from its official agricultural listing to a commercial builders yard.

But the proposals were rejected after Solihull Council’s planning department found there was not enough evidence of commercial use at the site previously.

David McGrath, chairman of protest group Residents Against Inappropriate Development, RAID, welcomed the decision.

“The idea of putting in an application for a builder’s yard is that if it’s downgraded from green belt, there’s a better chance for getting through an application for a gypsy site,” he said.

However, Mr McGrath claimed the travellers had ‘more Dale Farm tricks’ up their sleeves after hearing the Court of Appeal in London granted five time extensions to allow them to get documents together to appeal a High Court order to leave the camp by March 2012.

“They are stringing out the appeal process hoping to keep it going for years just like the travellers did in Dale Farm,” Mr McGrath said.

“They are sapping legal aid funds which should go to deserving causes. They were only given another year in Meriden on condition that they consented to and signed an agreement to leave in a year- now they are trying to renege on that agreement at taxpayers expense.”

The campaigners, who have kept their vigil adjacent to the travellers’ camp for nearly 900 days, have themselves been ordered to vacate the site after the council rejected their call to let them stay until March 2013.

The villagers say they now face the threat of court action and a maximum £20,000 fine, or even a possible jail term.

 

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