08:57AM, Thursday 14 February 2013
Direct action by the Royal Borough to force travellers off an illegal site is yet to happen - despite the unwanted visitors running out of time to quit.
Ten families who set up home at Five Oaks Farm in Shurlock Road three years ago were subject to an eviction notice giving them 18 months to go.
Time ran out on Monday but the travellers say they have no intention of leaving and have yet to face any concerted effort to get them off the land.
The council sent officers to the site on Monday and handed letters to the families confirming they are 'in breach of an enforcement notice'.
A cabinet prioritisation sub-committee will meet tonight to discuss what the next move will be.
The council said various factors including 'planning, legal and welfare' will now have to be considered.
Frustration is growing over the situation.
Clive Scott-Hopkins, chairman of Waltham St Lawrence Parish Council, said: "It is very disappointing to see that these people are still on this unauthorised site.
"The ruling was made that they had to leave and they should have to face the consequences of that decision."
The families arrived in December 2009 and their initial planning proposals for the caravans to stay were rejected, leading to a lengthy appeal and four-day public inquiry.
In August 2011 they were given the deadline to leave.
A renewed planning application was submitted in December but it was dismissed and the enforcement notice remained in place.
Council officers also suspected that some of the letters of support for the last application were fraudulent.
On Monday the families said that they had no intention of going.
They claimed their families have an established history of living in and around Berkshire, their children are settled in nearby schools and there is a shortfall of alternative accommodation.
Neighbouring villagers have complained that they feel threatened, the settlement is a blot on the landscape and that there is often an awful smell.
Royal Borough ward councillor Carwyn Cox (Con, Hurley and Walthams) said 'due process' had to be followed. He will be at the meeting tonight.
Pat McDonald, campaign manager for Maidenhead Labour Party, said: "I am enormously frustrated.
"People have had to put up with this for some time now and what they deserve is some definite action."
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