Travellers post notice intending to remain
Noise and fire reported as squatters occupy sites
SAFETY fears have been raised after travellers occupied two sites in Hillingdon.
Squatters have taken over a former office site in South Ruislip and the grounds of the old swimming pool in Hayes, residents have reported.
Around 40 caravans and other vehicles have been camped in the car park of the boarded-up old Hayes swimming pool site, on the corner of Botwell Lane and Central Avenue, for about a month, according to neighbours.
A number of vehicles also apparently turned up at the old Eagle Point offices, in The Runway, South Ruislip, where it is understood there are plans to build housing, over the bank holiday weekend.
One concerned resident, who asked not to be named, said large piles of rubbish had been building up at the site in Hayes.
He said a large fire had been deliberately started there and although it was safely put out by occupants on that occasion he was worried about the potential for flames to spread to neighbouring properties.
“I’m concerned if they start another fire there could be a lot of problems. There’s a lot of rubbish on the site and it’s not very safe for people living nearby.”
The old swimming pool site is owned by Lidl, which assured neighbours on Thursday May 5 it was “taking all necessary action” to reclaim possession from squatters who it said were illegally occupying the land.
A spokesman for the firm said it had been working with Hillingdon Council and the police, and bailiffs were in the process of gaining consent from the court to get the trespassers evicted.
At the site in South Ruislip, one neighbour said occupants had taped a “legal-looking” sign to the entrance after arriving, she believes, on Sunday, May 1, stating that they now live there and intend to remain on the land.
The woman, who did not want to be named, said the disturbance was “unacceptable”, with loud tools and a generator allegedly being used at night and a constant flow of vehicles in and out, often speeding and tooting their horns.
“Even in such a short space of time, the disturbance is unacceptable – a nightmare to local residents – and is definitely ‘anti-social’,” she said.
“The travellers carried out metal works with electric tools by van-light through the night, accompanied by a very loud generator, dogs barking at all hours and men and children shouting and screaming non-stop.
“It was incredibly frightening, and I found all the shouting quite threatening.”
It is understood the site is owned by Coal Pension Properties. Capita, which represents the company, have been contacted for a comment.
n SQUATTING: Eagle Point office buildings, in The Runway, South Ruislip, where travellers reportedly arrived over the bank holiday weekend
n LIDL’S SITE: The old swimming pool site in Botwell Lane, where travellers have taken up residence and dumped rubbish