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Travellers on Homewood School's football pitch in Appledore Road, Tenterden

Travellers have parked up on a football pitch belonging to a secondary school.

Caravans began to arrive on Saturday at the field near Appledore Road, Tenterden, the site of Homewood School's grass football pitch.

Tenterden residents have taken to social media with concerns that a quad bike had been ridden across the land and that the entrance gate to the field has been broken, although some have defended the Travellers, as causing no harm.

Caravans at Appledore Road (9332075)
Caravans at Appledore Road (9332075)

The Appledore Road field containing the school's football pitch is at the centre of a controversy as people living nearby are campaigning to protect the green space, but Wates Developments wants to build 250 homes and a country park on the land.

Homewood School principal Sally Lees said: "We are aware of the Travellers on the Appledore Road site. There is no impact on the school's curriculum as the field is not used for PE, but steps have been taken to recover the site."

She added: "The Travellers have been given notice to leave and they have agreed to leave voluntarily by Wednesday. The police have been kept informed."

Lisa Loveridge, a Traveller, was critical of the way she and her community had been treated since setting up camp at the field on Appledore Road and accused the people of Tenterden of discrimination.

She said: "It's my culture to travel. We all bleed red and we breathe the same air.

"My kids haven't been to school for three years and they are 11 and 14 years old.

"Because we are being moved from pillar to post we aren't registered with a doctor.

"On Christmas Eve we were made to take our lights and trees down and told to move at 6pm. Can you imagine how the little children felt?

"The council don't make any sites for us. If they made sites for us then they wouldn't have a problem.

"We thought Tenterden was a nice area, well it's not. It's racism."

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