TRAVELLERS who have spent the last 10 days on a Wrexham country park have been ordered to leave today.
Wrexham magistrates yesterday approved an application from Wrexham Council for the removal from Alyn Waters Country Park of all unauthorised vehicles and people living in them.
The travellers were given 24 hours notice to leave the Llay nature reserve after magistrates said they were satisfied that all possible options available to Wrexham Council had been exhausted. The council said it would review the situation after 24 hours had elapsed.
Aled Rowland, representing Wrexham Council, told the court 16 caravans had moved onto the site on Sunday, August 18, with 24 adults and 23 children in the vehicles.
Russell Jones, housing estate manager for the council, said he had served a notice to the travellers at abut 8.50am on Thursday, August 22, but 12 caravans remained on the site.
James Ditchburn, the council’s gipsy travellers liaison officer, said he had served a final summons to all the travellers to leave Alyn Waters at 4.30pm yesterday.
Mr Ditchburn also gave the travellers notice, via travellers spokesman Jerry Berry, of witness statements in court and the travellers were given the chance to provide evidence and have formal representation in court.
However, none of the travellers was present and there was no solicitor to represent them.
Magistrates chairman Jerry O’Keefe said all the criteria had been satisfied for the court to order to remove the travellers from the site.
The process was delayed over the weekend as the council awaited the results of a welfare assessment carried out by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which
was provided to the local authority yesterday.
Richard Arran, park ranger, told the court major damaged had been caused by the travellers including to the entrance gates and the Llay United football pitch caused by vehicles and ‘donuting’, where cars are driven at high speed in circles.
He added visitor numbers to the country park were ‘drastically reduced’ compared to average numbers in the summer holidays and vital habitat grasslands had been damaged by the travelling group.
Rossett Cllr Hugh Jones, lead member for communities, partnerships and collaboration at Wrexham Council, said: “We welcome this positive decision taken by the magistrates today which is a successful outcome for the council. I would urge those travellers who have taken up residence on this public land to leave as soon as possible.”
Welcoming the court’s decision, Cllr Malcolm Taylor, who represents Llay on Wrexham Council, said: “This is an excellent development, like winning the National Lottery. It is the best news I have had all week.
“It is important now that we work on getting the park back to the excellent standard it was at before the travellers came. People in Llay will be delighted.”
Cllr Terry Boland, who also represents Llay, said: “I am sure the residents of Llay and other people who use the park will be delighted at the outcome of the court proceedings and look forward to getting the park back to normal.”