Bailiffs backed up West Midlands Police officers have carried out an eviction at a traveller encampment on land owned by Coventry City Council.
The bailiffs arrived at 930am today (August 6) and spoke to people in caravans on the Brookstray, which lies in Nod Rise, Woodlands ward.
The group, consisting of around 30 vehicles, was beginning to leave the site this morning, hooking up caravans on the fields off Beausale Croft.
Police kept a low profile away from the tree-lined green, with officers in two uniformed cars and a van meeting in a car park at the nearby Vale pub.
The encampment arrived on July 31 and has been described as part of a “cat and mouse” game between the city council and travellers in the area.
One resident, a man in his 40s who asked not to be named, spoke outside his home as the group slowly left the site. He said: “The travellers know what they are doing and which sites they can and can’t use. The bailiffs are here but it all comes at huge cost and it seems the council is not in control of the situation.
“My anger is towards the council. There has been a problem in the Woodlands ward for the past five weeks. There was an encampment here four weeks ago and there are two groups who have been moving onto a number of sites in the area.
“They have been causing mayhem and our anxiety levels are through the roof.
“I’ve repeatedly contacted the council and while there is someone here today we feel abandoned, it’s been horrific. The smell of faeces at the back of my fence is horrific because they have been using it as a toilet, I can’t go to the back of my garden because the smell causes me to feel sick.
“There was a dirty nappy thrown over the fence, which we disposed of. There were also pallets stacked up against a fence and I took a picture because it was a fire risk and I was challenged face-to-face by one of the travellers who told me to delete the picture. It’s a flashpoint between travellers and residents and it only takes one spark. They are in the middle of a residential area and it causes massive friction.”
The resident wants more “robust” measures taken by the council to prevent another unauthorised encampment popping up.
He said: “They put blue paint down marking the spot where barriers were meant to go and they did put ditches in, but there were gaps everywhere and now they are full of weeds, they look atrocious.
“I appreciate the travellers are a recognised minority group but surely there should be somewhere where they can go with electricity hook-ups and toilets in place. It seems that Warwickshire has robust policies in place to deal with travellers but Coventry doesn’t.”
The council has previously told the Local Democracy Reporting Service it has plans to redevelop the current Siskin Drive transit site into a “fit for purpose” traveller facility to help deter unauthorised encampments.
A spokesman said: “This would see the provision of modern, fit for purpose, permanent traveller pitches.
“Current plans are subject to cabinet member approval, planning and securing grant funding.”
CoventryLive has contacted the council and groups representing travellers and gypsies.