Leeds City Council has applied to evict travellers who have set up an illegal camp on popular sports pitches between Pudsey and Calverley – but are waiting on court approval to move them on.
Nine caravans set up camp on Woodhall Playing Fields, off Woodhall Lane, between Calverley and Pudsey, on Sunday evening.
Councillor Amanda Carter (Cons, Calverley & Farsley) said the caravans were likely to cause disruption to the community, disrupt matches and stop young people using the pitches. She said:
“It is extremely disappointing to see an unauthorised encampment on Woodhall Playing Fields again. This has the potential to be disruptive to the local community and cause damage to the pitches, which would cost money to repair and interrupt scheduled matches. This is not fair on the local sports teams who use these fields regularly.
“My understanding is that the council is seeking to evict the travellers and I would urge them to act swiftly so that any disruption and damage can be kept to a minimum.”
Leeds City Council confirmed it has applied to the courts to have the travellers removed.
A spokesperson said: “The council is aware of and has visited this encampment; the vehicles are on council-owned land and we have applied to the courts for a possession order.”
The spokesperson added that a possession order requires a hearing and if the court grants it, those on the land must leave within 14 days or 28 days of the hearing.
The local authority said it unsuccessfully put forward an application to police for an emergency Section 61 removal, given there are football games scheduled in a matter of days on the fields and also training going on this week.
A Section 61 under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 allows police to ask trespassers to immediately leave land. The trespassers can be sent to prison if they fail to leave the land as soon as reasonably possible.
WLD has previously reported on previous issues on the fields here.