Travellers in battle to stay

Maria Smith at the site in Trimdon Station
Maria Smith at the site in Trimdon Station

A FAMILY of travellers say they fear for their future ahead of a council decision which could see them evicted from a site they call home.

The Smith family have lived in their caravan on a site just off Wingate Road, in Trimdon Station, for the last three years.

As previously reported in the Mail, the family have owned the site for the last seven years but are now battling to make it their permanent home.

Their proposal was rejected by Durham County Council at a meeting held in October and the decision of a subsequent appeal is to be made early next week.

A Durham County Council planning committee report states that nine individual letters of objection were submitted with reasons including anti-social behaviour problems and the site causing a decrease in housing prices.

Trimdon Parish Council and Highways Officer also submitted their own problems with access.

But Maria Smith, 42, who lives on the site with her family, said they don’t cause any problems and that other planning permission has been given the go-ahead to houses surrounding the access.

Maria, who lives on the site with husband James, 41, three sons James, 22, Shaun, 20 and Nathan, 14, along with her 18-year old daughter Natalie and her five-month old boy, Robert, said: “We just don’t know where we stand.

“This is our home, we don’t cause any problems, we just get on with our own lives.

“We just don’t know what to do, we are sat playing a waiting game.

“We were told our plans were rejected due to access issues but a house nearby recently had planning permission granted, so why shouldn’t we?”

Maria added: “I have got a few health problems at the minute and these worries obviously aren’t helping that.

“If we are moved out we will have to go back on to the road, that is the last thing we want, we just want to stay at our home.

“To be honest I don’t know what we can do, everything we have been told to do in the past we have done but it still hasn’t changed anything.

“We just keep to ourselves to ourselves and make sure our site stays clean.

“I just can’t believe the way we have been treated with this.

“This is our last hope, we don’t want to be homeless, I just want it sorted.”

Durham County Council was unable to comment on the appeal.