Travellers on second Leeds gala site UPDATED

Preparations for two community events in Leeds are being threatened by the presence of travellers, it emerged today.

The Yorkshire Evening Post told yesterday how travellers had set up camp on Glebelands recreation ground, which is due to host this Sunday's Garforth and District Lions Community Gala.

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Now organisers of the forthcoming Gipton Gala have voiced fears that a separate camp could scupper their event.

Around 20 caravans were yesterday occupying city council-owned sports fields behind Fearnville Leisure Centre, off Oakwood Lane in Gipton.

Gipton Gala, which raises thousands of pounds every year for performing arts and other youth-orientated activities in the area, is due to be held at the site a week on Saturday.

Organisers say unless the authorities succeed in moving the travellers on by this Friday at the latest, then lack of preparation time means the event will have to be called off.

Terri Loney, chair of the Gipton Together community group that is staging the gala, said: "I know the travellers have needs but so have the young people who live around here. We need this situation to be sorted out as soon as possible."

Coun Mark Dobson (Lab, Garforth & Swillington) has said the travellers at Glebelands need to be gone by tomorrow if this weekend's Lions event is to go ahead.

Helen Jones, director of Leeds GATE (Gypsy And Traveller Exchange) said the problems in Garforth and Gipton highlighted the need for more official sites for travellers.

A Leeds City Council spokesman said: "These caravans are on council owned land.

"We are working to resolve the situation and will be seeking immediate possession at Leeds County Court today.

"There have been a small number of caravans present for around five weeks and these were recently joined by a larger group.

"We are aware of the upcoming gala and will do all we can to clear the land so it can go ahead as planned."

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