Travellers who have set up camp on land at Dewsbury Country Park are to be moved on.
Kirklees Council has begun legal action to move around 30 vehicles from the site, off Park Road in Ravensthorpe, which is off the main A644 Huddersfield Road.
Travellers hit Kirklees at this time every year ahead of the annual Lee Gap Horse Fair at West Ardsley on August 24.
Local residents who live near to the park reported the group’s arrival. One resident who walks her dogs in the park said a locked gate had prevented access to the area and the large car park was totally empty.
However the out-of-the-way field had since become a travelling site with claims that travellers had forced entry to set up camp.
“They’ve dumped enormous amounts of rubbish already. It’s been dumped in a place where the council will have little choice other than to move it,” she said.
Dewsbury Country Park is a former landfill site that is being transformed into the largest new woodland in the north of England, with 74,000 trees over 72 hectares. More than half a million pounds has been spent on planting woodland, and creating footpaths, seating, signs and wetlands close to the Spen Valley Greenway.
The arrival of the travellers comes a year after the police were criticised for an apparent reluctance to act to move them. Mirfield councillor Martyn Bolt said at the time the cost to Kirklees was in the region of £250,000 a year.
The council spends tens of thousands of pounds on legal fees going to court to seek eviction notices that take 10 days to come into effect.
Last summer travellers set up an unauthorised encampment on playing fields at Old Bank Road in Mirfield after breaking a padlock off a gate. Travellers also removed boulders to gain access to council land in Leeds Road, Bradley, which had installed specifically to keep them out after a previous occupation.
Travellers also stayed for three weeks in the car park of the former Spotted Cow pub in Salendine Nook and last July a group occupied half the car park at the Sainsbury’s store at Shorehead in Huddersfield.
Dewsbury Country Park is owned by Kirklees Council. A council spokesman said: “We have begun proceedings to move the group from the land off Park Road. The hearing is scheduled for Huddersfield County Court.”