Travellers accused of damaging golf course land

Travellers who set up camp on former South Leeds Golf Club land this week have been accused of “felling mature trees to use for firewood, churning up the land with quad bikes and car races and are fly tipping waste from their cash in hand work across the area” by a local resident who also took these photos yesterday morning (20 August 2020).

It’s believed at least some of the travellers were moved on from Cross Flatts Park last weekend.

Alan Shaw, Chair of the Friends of Middleton Park, visited the higher of two separate encampments and told South Leeds Life:

“I am very disappointed that the Travellers appear to have caused some damage, and I also noted some rubbish appears to have been left  as well. I have spoken to some of the Travellers who were camping there and they were personable, so this damage is all the more disappointing. I am aware that there is still a Traveller encampment lower down the land to the north-west (nearer Beeston), I would very much hope that that area is left in a better state than the top site.”

He also said it wasn’t clear whether trees had been felled by the Travellers or by council staff for some other reason.

Helen Jone, the Chief Executive of Leeds GATE commented:

“Leeds GATE are aware that there have been reports of incidents and vandalism at the former South Leeds Golf Course over recent weeks and months.

“We are sorry that this is the case and understand why people in the community are concerned and naturally want these incidents to stop. We agree with them that vandalism and criminal damage is unacceptable and we would always recommend crime be reported to the correct authorities. Individuals responsible for crime, no matter who they are, should be reported to the police so they can be dealt with appropriately and in accordance with the law.

“What we would caution again is blaming any group of people for deeper problems in our communities. We are only too aware of many people living on camps in Leeds who are abiding by the law, and yet who are often subject to hate crime because of the actions of others. This is hugely frustrating for them when they also want nothing more than for the anti-social incidents to stop.

“Leeds GATE have enough experience to know that resolving the current situation requires access to suitable, currently unused, land with proper support for the people living there. Ultimately, we have to find better solutions than what we are seeing at the moment – this will benefit everybody. Despite Covid-19 large numbers of people are being obliged to cram onto a decreasing number of places whilst land that could be perfectly serviceable for use during the current crisis sits empty. That is of course going to lead to problems.”

South Leeds Life understands that officers from the Council’s Traveller service and West Yorkshire Police have visited the sites and that a date has been set for a court hearing to grant an eviction.


8 Replies to “Travellers accused of damaging golf course land”

  1. Are any of these travellers ever prosecuted because I’m pretty sure if I broke barriers into council owned land and left a load of rubbish ( fly tipping) and generally caused a right nuisance of myself then I’d be in court faster than you could say “one rule for them and another for the rest”. Moving them on evey two minutes is clearly not working so find some suitable land where this kind of thing is less intrusive and enforce it’s use and give the rest of us some peace.

    1. Definitely needs to be some additional provision of proper stopping sites created by the Council – ones where sanitation is available and skips and bins for waste, which can then be disposed of and taken away properly. The few ‘official’ places provided locally are small and full: so some new spaces would be welcome and lift this pressure on everyone.

        1. I don’t know. Perhaps you’d like to ask all the different Travellers indiividually?- as people aren’t all the same. are they? In the same way as there’s many rough and messy residents and tenants leaving mess and litter and flytipping regularly in many of our local streets. Some settled people are hardly saints, and they’re not prosecuted either from what I see round here. Rubbish is being dumped regularly by people in houses.

    2. They won’t be prosecuted for anything no, because the police won’t be able to prove exactly who has done what and the Council don’t want to make any effort pursuing it, so council tax payers can suck it and suffer.

  2. As usual when the travellers leave a area where they have illegally set up camp there is always some form of rubbish left behind ! I think it was last year on 2 occasions they set up camp in the car park of Morrisons supermarket Hunslet and left rubbish behind they’ve also done exactly the same in the car park where The Range Hunslet is situated – now there is a height restriction barrier to this car park. They’ve also parked on Holbeck Moor in the past and left a disused caravan behind – this place now had concrete bollards in place. It’s bad enough they go onto places where they shouldn’t camp , they seem to think it’s acceptable to dump rubbish behind. Plenty of people use the recycling centre in Leeds to get rid of unwanted items , surely they can do the same at least !

  3. They got into Cross Flatts Park last week which is supposed to be secure gated. There had been an event in the Park so presume someone left the gate open?? The Police gave them a dispersal order for illegal encampment so presumably they headed to the old golf course. Do they pay any Council Tax like the rest of us residents?

    1. No, they do not pay Council Tax although the Council are happy enough to look the other way while travellers destroy facilities that the Leeds residents do pay for.

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