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Travellers lock themselves in at site off M20 on Castle Way, Leybourne


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Travellers have locked themselves in at a site and asked the public not to park in front of the gate.

They have moved on to land off Castle Way, Leybourne, just off the M20, and have used a fence and a gate to secure the entrance.

Travellers are living at a site in Leybourne, just off the M20, and have created a homemade sign, saying they need access to the land 24/7
Travellers are living at a site in Leybourne, just off the M20, and have created a homemade sign, saying they need access to the land 24/7

They have also created a homemade sign which says they need access 24/7.

Highways England has confirmed it owns the land.

Spokesman Peter Phillips said: "We are aware that there are a small number of travellers currently occupying land off Castle Way in Leybourne.

"We are in contact with Kent Police and are currently pursuing legal routes to secure the site."

Police say they were notified of the situation on May 6 but referred the matter to Leybourne Parish Council as they are on private land.

The site where the travellers are living in Leybourne is just off Castle Way. Picture: Google Street View
The site where the travellers are living in Leybourne is just off Castle Way. Picture: Google Street View

There are two caravans on the land in question, although one of these is thought to be unoccupied because it had been lived in by an elderly gentleman who was re-housed by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council earlier this year.

Bob Ulph, chairman of the parish council, who believes the homemade sign first appeared around two weeks ago, said: “We have solicitors and they are looking into it as well.

“Even though it is not parish council land, we are, obviously, still concerned about ensuring something is done about this.”

He predicts the travellers - with the exact number residing there unclear - have been there for six to eight weeks.

Kent County Council’s Gypsy and Traveller Service say they attended the site on May 27, trying to get the attention of the occupants, to no avail.

Bob Ulph, chairman of Leybourne Parish Council. Picture: Chris Davey
Bob Ulph, chairman of Leybourne Parish Council. Picture: Chris Davey

A spokesman said: “We are aware of this issue but this is not KCC land, nor is the encampment encroaching on KCC Highways, so KCC will not be taking any action.”

“It is frustrating that the investigation has taken so long to determine the landowner,” Mr Ulph said.

But he accepts those living on the site have not caused too many problems so far.

He said: “That is why it has not caused too much concern. There isn’t loads of littering.

“It is not really causing any problems for residents.

“But the residents feel that it is illegal encampment and they want something done about it.”

Last month, a group of travellers pitched up on Hythe Green and then a similar number arrived in Faversham.

Read more: All the latest news in Malling

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