Campaigners wait to discover fate

By Laura Payne 23/04 Updated: 26/04 10:14

Buy photos » Campaigners marked 700 days of protest at the end of March. 14.012.010.sol.nc2

CAMPAIGNERS in Meriden are due to hear today (Wednesday) whether they can stay at the site where they have been protesting against an illegal travellers camp.

Solihull Council informed Meriden RAID they would have to remove parts of their camp by the end of the month, but the group is hoping the decision will be overturned.

The protesters have been keeping a 24 hour vigil there since travellers moved onto land on Eaves Green Lane nearly two years ago.

Last month the travellers were given one year to vacate the site and Solihull Council is due to consider, behind closed doors, whether the protesters' camp can stay for another year.

Meriden residents have already said they will maintain their vigil while the travellers occupy the land.

RAID Chairman David McGrath said: "We will not allow Solihull Council to treat Meriden residents as second class citizens.

"They cannot allow travellers to stay another year - at an illegal site causing daily harm to the greenbelt - and yet require protesters to leave their site by the end of this month.

"You cannot have double standards in planning, you cannot have one law for gypsies and another for the settled community.

"We will continue to hold both the travellers and the council to account for their actions."

The campaigners, who marked 700 days of protest at the end of March, say their role is to monitor and report ongoing breaches of the injunction and unlawful activity at the site.

And two years of 24 hour protest against the illegal traveller site will be marked on April 29.

Mr McGrath said: "It is a day that is infamous in our history - bulldozers turning up to destroy a wildlife site followed by barristers for the travellers determined to try to force development in our greenbelt and two years of strife for local residents."

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