Fires at controversial site spark eviction warnings

Travellers' site on Fairfield Road, Hardhorn.
Travellers' site on Fairfield Road, Hardhorn.
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Legal experts will be examining a report into a controversial Fylde travellers’ caravan site which was hit by a series of fires over the weekend.

Fire crews were twice called out to the travellers’ camp off Fairfield Road, Hardhorn.

The first incident involved a blaze in two derelict caravans at 1pm on Saturday.

Two vehicles from the Forest Gate fire station and nine firefighters were at the scene for three quarters of an hour using foam to suppress thick black smoke from burning plastics which could be seen for miles around.

No-one was occupying the caravans and there were no injuries.

On Sunday evening at 8.28pm, fire crews returned to the 2.4 hectare site to deal with a blaze involving a quantity of wood and rubbish.

Residents opposed to the travellers occupying the fields alerted the emergency services and are awaiting the removal of the families who have been living there since 2009.

The travellers lost an application to the Supreme Court last month to stay on the site which has no planning permission for a caravan site.

A spokesman for Residents Against Inappropriate Development in Hardhorn, Singleton, Staining and Poulton said: “I think that’s the sixth time a caravan has been set on fire there.

“There was one set on fire on Saturday afternoon and there was a separate fire on Sunday night.

“I wonder how much these call-outs are costing.

“We’ve had so many negative incidents – we have had a lot of litter and bottles have been thrown into a neighbour’s garden.

“Residents are just waiting anxiously for this to come to an end.

“We have been patient all the way through and will remain patient.

“We will try and get on with our lives.

“But it’s the daily nuisances and incidents that gnaw away at your day to day life.

“We just hope they will accept the court decision and go peacefully.”

A spokesman for Fylde Borough Council said: “We were aware of fires at the site over the weekend and that the fire brigade and police were involved.

“Legally, the council is now drafting a report which will go before a special committee.

“It will examine a range of options concerning eviction of the travellers and an appropriate timescale.”

He said the committee were aiming to look into it this month.

The spokesman added the report will be carried out by an external law expert and that the council would also have to consider retrospective planning permission for the travellers’ site as part of that legal process in a bid to prevent any further appeals.