Trav­ellers post no­tice in­tend­ing to re­main

Noise and fire re­ported as squat­ters oc­cupy sites

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Robert Cum­ber robert.cum­ber@trin­i­tymir­

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

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