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Residents united in their fight over site

MERIDEN residents spent their Bank Holiday guarding green belt land after a group of travellers descended and tried to start work on a caravan site.

MERIDEN residents spent their Bank Holiday guarding green belt land after a group of travellers descended and tried to start work on a caravan site.

Angry villagers had been spurred into action on Friday, after a group of mechanical diggers arrived in Eaves Green Lane

The crowds had formed a human barricade and began a 24-hour vigil, to make sure that work didn’t continue while a few miles away, planning chiefs were called to an emergency meeting. On Saturday, Solihull Council announced it had served a stop notice - making any further work illegal.

Leader of Solihull Council Ken Meeson praised the quick-response of council officers and local residents, but the stand-off has continued with police officers maintaining a round-the-clock presence at the traveller’s site.

On Tuesday, 80 protesters - and two tractors - arrived outside Solihull’s council house. Armed with placards, they called on the authority to protect the Meriden Gap and reject proposals for the site.

And later the same day, around 300 residents packed into Meriden Village Hall to voice their concerns about the situation.

David McGrath, spokesman for the newly-formed Residents Against Inappropriate Developments (RAID), promised that the fight would continue.

“Whatever it takes, we’re going to win this battle and put that land back to how it was,” he said.

Residents have received backing from local politicians - who have called for a change in the law.

Nikki Sinclaire MEP told the Solihull News that she had flown out to Brussels to raise the issue.

“I think Solihull Council did a fantastic job to respond so quickly, before foundations could be put down,” she said.

While Meriden MP Caroline Spelman said she had been campaigning for a change in planning laws since 2005.

A planning application had been submitted to Solihull Council a few minutes before offices were due to shut on Friday afternoon.

The travellers, who are understood to have bought the land last year, said that they had complied with the stop notice.

Under the conditions, no further work can be carried out for a 28 day period. But fears are growing about what will happen after this date.

* Keep up-to-date with the latest developments in Meriden at www.meridenraid.co.uk.

 

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