A court has ordered travellers to be evicted from land in Blackpool after hearing an air ambulance carrying a critically-ill patient was unable to land because of their camp.
Travellers moved on to Lawsons Road Playing Fields near Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Saturday and despite having numerous notices served on them by Blackpool Council officials, with police officers in attendance, they refused to leave.
A council officer was told by the leader of the travellers that they had come for the Blackpool Horse Fair and Horse Drive, which will take place from tomorrow to Sunday in Poulton and they were not moving until the end of the fair.
Local residents complained that travellers horses were being galloped round the field without any care for people walking there and dogs were loose, Blackpool magistrates heard.
Officers noted 12 caravans, 18 vehicles, 24 adults and 52 children, three horses, puppies, chickens and caged aviary birds were on the site.
Lynda Bennett, prosecuting for Blackpool Council, applied for the order to remove all people and vehicles from Lawsons Road Playing Fields.
Blackpool magistrates granted the order to be effective immediately.
A notice was expected to be served on Wednesday afternoon with the travellers told to vacate the site immediately.
Council environment officer, Nicky Todd, told the court a 59-year-old man from Barrow with a blocked stent in a coronary artery urgently needed a heart operation. He was flown to Blackpool by the North West Air Ambulance.
The air ambulance would normally have landed at Lawsons Field near the hospital, but was forced to divert to a field on Common Edge Road.
The air ambulance sector manager said this had increased the patient’s journey by at least 15 minutes.
As the air ambulance doctor had to go in the ambulance with the patient, the time was also greatly increased before the helicopter could get back in the air.
Council public protection officer, Steve Flint, told magistrates he had spoken to the travellers leader who said they were here for the horse fair to be held on Garstang Road.
Mr Flint added: “It appears the horse fair is going to become an annual event in Blackpool and they are expecting thousands of people to turn up.”