From the Citizen
TRAVELLERS in the Forest of Dean are launching a new bid to remain on an illegal site, backed by a planning expert nicknamed the 'Gypsy King'.
Former Liberal Democrat MP Matthew Green has earned the nickname after being involved in more than 200 planning cases involving Travellers.
Travellers first moved on to the Newent site in May 2009, then laid a hard surface and dug a cesspit before the council served a stop notice.
A planning application to build on the site was rejected by Forest of Dean Council and the Travellers were given until January this year to leave.
The Travellers did not leave and the council has since issued another legal order to try to force their removal within six months.
But the Travellers have submitted a new planning application in a bid to stay on the land.
The future of the site in Southend Lane, will be discussed at a council planning meeting on April 10.
Mr Green and his company Green Planning Solutions are helping with the Travellers' application, saying that if the council found them another site, they could move on.
Town Mayor Len Lawton said: "Having made a decision, a decision should be stuck to, it is the current system that allows this nonsense.
"They have been given two years by the planning inspector to clear the site and return it to the original condition but they have used the two years to develop the site."
Campaign group Residents Against Inappropriate Development was set up to fight the travellers' bid.
Resident Barbara Griffiths has objected to the application, saying: "They, like us, have to obey the law, nothing has changed. The site, seen clearly from our house, is still occupied by many caravans. We ask the council to take every measure necessary to remove the Travellers from Southend Lane as soon as possible."
Mr Green could not be reached for comment.