A community living next to the abandoned Ski Village at Parkwood Springs have been spared eviction after the city council’s case against them was adjourned until February 2018 this morning.
Earlier, members of the community and their supporters gathered to protest outside the crown court. The judge presiding over the hearing arrived to chants of “people not profits.”
The council are looking to clear the site in order to regenerate the Ski Village as part of a wider plan to develop a leisure complex in the area. A petition opposing the eviction of 30 people has attracted almost 1,500 signatures.
Diane Barrett, a resident at the site for the past nine years, expressed concern for her children, the youngest of whom could be forced to leave his school.
She said, “It was a dumping ground before we got here. The only reason they want us out is because it looks bad for business.”
James Richards, the council’s public protection manager said, “This is the lifestyle choice they’ve made but ultimately we need to claim back our land. We need to treat everybody in Sheffield equally, so we can’t just give away council-owned land because someone wants to occupy it.”
However, resident Wayne Atkinson contests this, saying the council has no grounds to evict the travellers: “The site is a designated highway. Our vehicles are parked on it and they are taxed, meaning they cannot be moved. I’m here today because if we are evicted, I can go somewhere else, but not everyone here can.”
The trial has been adjourned as members of the community wait for legal representation; many of the travellers are applying for legal aid in order to continue with the trial.