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Residents' plea to council to move on caravan dwellers

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 09, 2013

By Phil Goodwin

Residents in Kennford, close to the A38 Devon Expressway, have called for immediate action over the caravans

Residents in Kennford, close to the A38 Devon Expressway, have called for immediate action over the caravans

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Moves are under way to clear an illegal settlement of caravans from a salt depot owned by Devon County Council.

The occupants – said to be four households from one family, one of whom is thought to be a gypsy – have already been moved on from land near the M5 after being evicted from at least one council house.

Following a complaint over the alleged use of air rifles at the site, anxious residents in Kennford, close to the A38 Devon Expressway, have called for immediate action over the land, which sits in an Area of Great Landscape Value.

Privately, some claim the county authority is "hiding behind" equalities policies over gypsies and travellers rather than clearing the four touring caravans from Red Cross Salt Depot.

After more than eight months, Teignbridge district council has now lost patience with the county council.

Planners are meeting on Monday when they are expected to approve plans to serve an enforcement notice on the county council and the people living on the site.

Devon County Council said moving the family on might simply create a worse problem somewhere else.

Councillor Alan Connett, former Liberal Democrat leader of the authority, said Teignbridge had "no obligation to rehouse the family".

"It falls to the county council to do more than it has to find them somewhere to live peacefully without breaching the planning laws," he said.

The family first rolled up to the Dawlish Road depot last July just as enforcement action was due to be taken against them on Highways Agency land in Exminster.

They are believed to have been forced to leave council houses in Exminster and also Exeter.

In January, Teignbridge officials received a series of complaints that the matter had not yet been resolved.

They said the site is regularly visited by the Devon County Gypsy Liaison Officer, who hopes "a more appropriate site can be found sooner rather than later".

A spokesman for Teignbridge said: "We have to strike a balance between those people who have to have somewhere to live and those in the vicinity who have to put up with them. If we don't start action there is a danger the use becomes established."

A spokesman for Devon County Council said it would continue to help find "a long-term housing solution". "While there remains no alternative option at the moment, our view is that moving the family from this, relatively isolated location runs a risk they would simply move to another more unsuitable location where their safety, that of the settled community and the travelling public could be compromised further," he added.

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6 comments

  • howardd1  |  March 10 2013, 12:08PM

    what rights these parasites pay no taxes what so ever , they have no rights in my book

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  • Lioness  |  March 10 2013, 7:39AM

    If you or I were to shoot airguns illegally as these people are doing, there would be a helicopter & armed response team swarming all over the place.... it makes me sick how these people seem to have immunity to prosecution for all wrong doing & be above all & any laws of this country.

    Rate   10
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  • DevonJanner  |  March 09 2013, 5:12PM

    what about the 1000`s of illegal immigrants that turn up on our shores every year and cost the british tax payer an arm and a leg ,nothing is done about that ,hypocritical!

    Rate   4
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  • trudie2010  |  March 09 2013, 1:40PM

    It would seem that Gypsies safety is paramount as far as councils are concerned. I've seen a few nice beauty spots where I would be happy to settle, so maybe in the future I will give it a go, it's all the better knowing that I will get a toilet provided and a welfare check.

    Rate   17
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  • Despairing2  |  March 09 2013, 11:54AM

    A spokesman for Devon County Council said "While there remains no alternative option at the moment, our view is that moving the family from this, relatively isolated location runs a risk they would simply move to another more unsuitable location where their safety, that of the settled community and the travelling public could be compromised further," he added. Surely if that happens, they move them on again - hardly rocket science......

    Rate   20
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  • MisterDonut  |  March 09 2013, 9:13AM

    If you pay tax and obey the law the council and the police treat you as mugs. If you live in a caravan on someone elses land for a few months they all work in your favour and fall over themselves to respect your rights.

    Rate   31
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