Travellers move in at Underwood

NMAC11-2740-1 ''Underwood Travellers Site on Felley Mill Lane South.
NMAC11-2740-1 ''Underwood Travellers Site on Felley Mill Lane South.

SCORES of concerned residents attended an emergency public meeting on Sunday after travellers moved onto a plot of land in Underwood.

The traveller site is at the junction of the A608 and Felley Mill Lane South and according to Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero was recently bought for cash.

High fencing has been erected around the plot and parts of the land have been re-surfaced, but several caravans have now moved on to the site.

Nearly 200 residents attended a meeting held at the village’s Miners’ Welfare on Sunday - organised by local councillor Robert Sears-Piccavey - to voice their opposition to the camp.

Said Ms De Piero: “As I understand the whole area is listed as Agricultural Green Belt land and so far the local authority has managed to maintain this status.

“However, this recent development is certainly worrying news and over the last few days many concerned residents have contacted my office and asked for help.

“Nearly two hundred people attended an emergency meeting at the Miners’ Welfare on Sunday morning which just goes to show the strength of the feeling in the area.”

Ashfield District Council officers are working to resolve the situation and are implementing a three-step approach to force the caravans off the land.

It has already seen the council serve a notice on those who appear to have an interest in the land, so that it can be established who the owners are and so that an effective enforcement notice can be served.

A temporary stop notice was also issued on Monday to prevent any further caravans arriving and stop the depositing of materials such as more tarmac.

The third step is the serving of the enforcement notice, which would force the caravans to move out, and which will be served ‘as soon as is practical’, said a council spokeswoman.

Coun Sears-Piccavey has also raised concerns about the site because he says that the fence and resurfacing do not fit in with the rural location and he has heard rumours that the travellers intend to erect two big gates to close the site off.