Travellers leave Yarmouth for Norwich, as MP says ‘it is wrong that society is left with the cost of repairs’

Barnard Bridge playing field after travellers left the Yarmouth site

Barnard Bridge playing field after travellers left the Yarmouth site - Credit: Archant

A group of travellers who set up camp in Great Yarmouth have left the site, with a convoy of around two dozen vehicles heading down the Acle Straight.

The Travellers who have arrived at land opposite the Open Academy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Travellers who have arrived at land opposite the Open Academy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

The group had moved onto the Barnard Bridge playing field, owned by Great Yarmouth High School, last Sunday afternoon.

They were then joined by another group on Monday who brought horses with them.

The first group was served with a court order to leave by 6pm yesterday and it was unclear whether the second group would also leave at the same time.

Bailiffs had been instructed to attend the site this morning should any of the remaining court ordered vehicles still be there.

Brandon Lewis MP

Brandon Lewis MP - Credit: Archant

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However all the caravans moved off the site by 5.30pm and Great Yarmouth Borough Council confirmed their operational partner, GYB Services Ltd, would start cleaning waste off the field on environmental grounds.

By last night, a group of caravans had clustered on land opposite the Open Academy in Heartsease, Norwich. It was not clear if they were part of the same group which had left Great Yarmouth. There was no sign of any horses on the land.

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Yesterday Great Yarmouth High School headteacher John Robson expressed concern over contamination of the Yarmouth site due to waste, and the school caretaker said it would likely be September at the earliest before the field could be used again.

It also looked like the school, as the landowner, would have to foot the bill for the clean up.

Jonathon Childs, Norfolk County councillor.

Jonathon Childs, Norfolk County councillor. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

But the legal costs were to be split between the school and Norfolk County Council.

Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said it was wrong for society to have to clean up the mess left behind by the travellers.

'It is totally unfair on local people to have an incursion like this which causes such severe disturbance and mess,' he said.

'I will support the authorities to ensure this is resolved... and the mess cleared.

'It is wrong that society is left with the cost of repairs.'

The gate to the site has now been secured.

The field is also used by Great Yarmouth Town Football Club youth teams, and Martyn Sinclair from the club said it was a shame the children were the ones to suffer and the school would be the one to pick up the bill.

County councillor Jonathon Childs also called for a better response. Earlier in the week he urged residents to be calm amid 'racist and abusive comments'.

He said: 'Just a word of warning this has bought out the worst in some folk. I don't condone the travellers pulling onto any site that is not licenced for use as a caravan site. I believe that we must have a more rigid response to this sort of behaviour and the full weight of the judicial system should be used in all cases such as this.

'But I heard that a few youngsters were following the travellers down Walpole Road and abusing them too. We all know the situation wasn't what we want but that behaviour is wrong.

'When serving the notices, it was the young people of Great Yarmouth causing the problems and it took the police a good 20 minutes to disperse them. Their behaviour was worse than the travellers.

'I appreciate the travellers shouldn't have been there and have made a right mess of the field, but the young people's behaviour was equally as intimidating and unnecessary.

'We as a community are better than that, we all get o,n but be warned the police take racist incidents very seriously and I believe some folk might fall foul of the law over what has been said and done.

'We are Great Yarmouth, we won't tolerate hatred.'

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