A Gypsy Traveller family is facing eviction after Angus councillors rejected an eleventh-hour plea for them to be allowed to remain at their illegal home.
Direct action will be taken to remove the touring and static caravans at Hillside, north of Montrose, which have been at the centre of a planning dispute stretching back more than a decade.
Backers said they were disappointed the appeal to allow the family to stay – maintaining permanent health and education provision for the children – was dismissed by the area’s development standards committee.
The Kinnaber Road site first came onto the council planners’ radar in July 2004 when the local authority received a report land at The Knowe was being used by unauthorised caravans.
The family were not present at the Forfar meeting but, speaking on their behalf, Lynne Tammi, Scottish representative of the National Gypsy Traveller Federation said eviction would have a major impact, particularly on the family’s young children who are settled in school locally.
“Gypsy Traveller outcomes are amongst the worst in Scottish education and they also face major health inequalities,” she said.
“The family want better health and education outcomes for their children and this should not come at the expense of their ethnic culture and nomadism.”
She said the designated Travellers’ site at Tealing on the Angus/Dundee border had been blighted by vandalism and the behaviour of itinerant single males and was not somewhere that the family would want to go to.
“The majority of the Hillside community have no concerns and for those who do have concerns the family have expressed a willingness to sign up to a probationary period of permission.”
Committee convener Rob Murray moved the official recommendation for direct action to go ahead, saying that there had been opportunities over many years for the saga to be resolved.
After the committee’s unanimous agreement to instigate the direct action, Mrs Tammi said: “I’m disappointed that this was decided without any discussion at all about the education and health issues which were raised.
“This is now a family with eviction hanging right over their heads.”