Legal action is being taken to evict travellers from a council-owned golf course – to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Two families moved on to Goldenhill Golf Course earlier this week as they are visiting relatives at the nearby Linehouses caravan site.
But Stoke-on-Trent City Council has successfully applied for an order for the families to be moved on.
The reasons stated for them not being on the land were:
- They have their own site in Norfolk;
- They should not be travelling during the current pandemic and;
- There is a potential risk to public health as there are currently no reports of anyone on the Linehouses site having Covid-19.
A representative for the city council told North Staffordshire Justice Centre they received reports the travellers moved on to Goldenhill Golf Course on Tuesday (June 2).
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She said: “The land is occupied by two trailers and two vans. There are no welfare issues. They have a permanent site in Norfolk and have just travelled to see family at the Linehouses site.
“We are fortunate not to have any cases of the virus at Linehouses. We want to remove them as soon as possible. There is no reason why they would have to stay on our land.
“I have spoken to them and asked them to go. They were notified on June 2 they have to go as they are occupying the land illegally. We served them with the notice yesterday (June 3) and they were still there this morning (June 4).
“Our primary concern is the health and well-being of the families on our Linehouses site.
“They should not be travelling, they have a place to go back to and there is no reason for them to stay there.”
Magistrate Vikki Botham said: “We grant the order. They should not be on this land or travelling at this moment in time.
“They have their own registered site that they should be residing at.
“Linehouses has no current reports of the covid crisis. There is a concern around the risk to public health and the risk to health and well-being. We grant the order today.”
The 120-acre course was closed by the council in 2011.
The travellers accessed the land through a £117,000 new footpath which was created to provide a safer way for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders to access Scotia Valley Greenway and the surrounding rights of way network.
Tom Simpson, chairman of Sandyford and Goldenhill Residents’ Association, today welcomed the legal action.
He said: “There’s a new footpath and bridleway that’s been put in there and that’s how they got on. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, the council would have put a barrier or gate in to stop that from happening.
“Around Goldenhill and Sandyford there’s a lot of open countryside and has been an ongoing issue for years. We have been trying to restrict access to open land.
“It’s not necessarily the case this time but in a lot of cases it’s the mess that’s left behind.
“Us taxpayers are the ones who have to foot the bill for any rubbish that needs clearing up.”
It is understood the travellers moved on yesterday afternoon.