Travellers face court

PHOTO: NEIL CROSS'Traveller Patty Linfoot at the site on Hut Lane, Heath Charnock, Chorley
PHOTO: NEIL CROSS'Traveller Patty Linfoot at the site on Hut Lane, Heath Charnock, Chorley

Travellers who have failed to vacate a patch of greenbelt land after a long legal battle could be fined up to £20,000.

Michael Linfoot and Joe Boswell, who own the land in Hut Lane, Heath Charnock, have been summonsed to appear before court on Friday afternoon.

They will appear in the dock at South Ribble Magistrates’ Court after failing to adhere to a notice issued by Chorley Council.

The legal document stipulated that they must remove their caravans from the land after they failed in their bid to secure retrospective planning permission to make the site their permenant home.

They appealed the decision at a public inquiry and then at the High Court, but despite losing both attempts they have refused to pack up and leave.

Mr Linfoot last week insisted that he was fighting for the sake of his children and their education and claimed that he had been offered £100,000 to sell the land which he bought for a fraction of that cost.

However, residents neighbouring the site are backing the council’s action and said they are hoping for a resolution.

Dr Eric Issac, who will be attending the hearing on Friday, said: “It is a very sad day that it has come to this for all parties concerned.

“However, it is important that the enforcement notice is implemented.

“My argument has always been that it is not that the families are travellers, but that they have broken the law by developing greenbelt land. Anyone who breaks the law must face the consequences.”

Coun Alan Cullens, who is responsible for planning issues at Chorley Council, said: “We promised that the council would begin enforcement action and serving Mr Linfoot and Mr Boswell with a summons to appear in court is the next step as part of that process. We can’t comment any further on this particular case while legal proceedings are still pending.”