Mess as travellers leave Salendine Nook playing fields - and head for nearby YMCA car park

Caravans head straight up New Hey Road to Huddersfield YMCA

Waste left behind after travellers moved on from the Celandine Avenue playing fields in Salendine Nook.
Waste left behind after travellers moved on from the Celandine Avenue playing fields in Salendine Nook.

 

Travellers quit playing fields in Salendine Nook – just minutes before bailiffs were due to evict them.

Up to 20 caravans had been parked up on the Celandine Avenue fields for almost two weeks.

It is understood the remaining caravans didn’t go far – pulling into the car park at Huddersfield YMCA a few hundred yards up New Hey Road.

Kirklees Council secured an eviction notice for the playing fields and bailiffs were due to tow them off at 1pm yesterday.

Right up to 11.30am a hardcore of four caravans was refusing to move but when bailiffs arrived at 1pm the fields were empty.

All that remained was piles of rubbish and waste left scattered around the perimeter of the fields.

Bailiff Rod Teale, from Teale’s recovery services in Mirfield, told how he had visited the site several times over the weekend. As late as 11.30am some were still refusing to move.

“They said they weren’t moving and they were going to sue the council,” he added.

 

Mr Teale, who works for Kirklees Council, said he had been doing the job for 40 years and had got to know all the travellers.

Mr Teale said he used the “softly softly” approach – often taking his wife – and added: “While they might give you a bit of grief I’ve never had any trouble.

“We try to work out where they will go next. I would like to think they are going to Lancashire!”

The fields, which include a football pitch and children’s playground, were covered in scavenging birds feeding on rotting food.

Among the waste were gas cylinders, nappies, clothing, children’s toys and leftover takeaway food.

A rotting takeaway among the waste left by travellers at Celandine Avenue playing fields in Salendine Nook.
A rotting takeaway among the waste left by travellers at Celandine Avenue playing fields in Salendine Nook.
 

The pitch, used by Lindley FC first team and Mount FC second, has a hole dug into it near the allotments end and there are tyre tracks right across it. One game has already had to be moved.

Caravans had been parked on the pitch and residents told how a quad bike had been raced up and down.

Martin Joyce, 42, who grew up in the area and whose mother lives nearby, said the council should have been more pro-active.

“They know travellers arrive at this time of year so they should have been prepared,” he said. “They have left a big field wide open.

“I know the travellers have to go somewhere but they don’t do themselves any favours when they leave a mess behind.”

Mr Joyce said he previously worked in London and each borough had sites for travellers.

“It’s a tough one but the council should provide a site with running water, toilets and drainage and empty the bins. Maybe there’s somewhere down Leeds Road.”

Mum-of-two Becky Wood, 30, took her two children Lily, four, and 12-month-old Toby to the play area for the first time in two weeks.

“It’s been an absolute nightmare,” she said. “I saw them riding the quad bike and ripping up the field and rang the police but nothing happened.

“We have stayed away from the playground because it’s not safe. It’s the end of the school holidays now.”

Other residents reported that they saw the travellers smash through the gate.

Another man, who asked not to be named, said: “They have forced entry so they should be turfed straight back out.

“The trouble is they know the law better than the lawyers. They know they have a week before the council goes to court and another week before they get evicted. It’s disgraceful.”

 
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