Travellers get moving from Cross Heath site after court hearing
A GROUP of travellers has been ordered to leave a site earmarked for a new housing development.
A convoy of caravans arrived at the plot off Wilmot Road, Cross Heath, six weeks ago to set up camp.
Families in the area said the travellers had become a nuisance after lighting fires, dumping litter and using the site as a toilet.
Now they have been forced to leave following a ruling by a judge at Stoke-on-Trent County Court.
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Aspire Housing applied for a court order forcing the group to immediately leave the site, which has been earmarked for regeneration.
Some 166 homes were demolished in the area under a scheme led by the now defunct regional development agency Renew North Staffordshire.
A total of 117 properties are set to be built on the land by Barratt Homes in a £12.5 million scheme.
Aspire wants to rent out 29 of the homes.
The travellers are believed to have anticipated yesterday's court ruling and left before they were formally evicted.
Residents say they are pleased the unwelcome visitors have gone.
But some fear the land will be targeted by gypsies again, with three separate groups having set up camps on the site since Christmas.
Wilmot Drive resident Paul Yates, aged 45, said: "We had six caravans turn up first, before another three came.
"It was these three that we had all the trouble with.
"Some of them were working as tree surgeons I think, and they are the ones who have been dumping all the rubbish.
"But it's worse than that. They've been using the area as a toilet.
"You see them coming out of their caravans with little pink toilet rolls and just bending down in front of you.
"You're there having your Sunday dinner and there are people going to the toilet right in front of your house. It's disgusting."
Mr Yates's partner Jane Cook, aged 36, said: "Their dogs are barking all day and their generators run all day and all night.
"The kids were being cheeky to people. You couldn't go and walk your dog on there.
"A friend on the road said they'd had people in their back garden trying to steal a bike. We're very pleased they've gone."
Sixty-three-year-old retired cleaner Glenise Allsopp, of nearby Rogers Avenue, said: "They've never been any bother to me but I don't agree with the mess they make.
"They've got dogs and they've made a mess of the area. Some people walk across the field to get to work and they couldn't do that with all the caravans there."
At the court hearing, District Judge Lawrence Schroeder said: "The legal position is that they have no right to be there."
A spokesman for the housing association said: "We are pleased that the order has been granted and can confirm that the legal process to formally close the roads is currently underway to make the land inaccessible to vehicles."