Travellers pitch by DW days before big kick off

Travellers encamped on a rugby pitch at Scot Lane Playing Fields
Travellers encamped on a rugby pitch at Scot Lane Playing Fields
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TRAVELLERS have set up on a Wigan field by the DW Stadium, just days before the start of the new Premier League season.

Wigan Leisure Culture Trust (WLCT), who manage the land just off Scot Lane, say they are starting legal proceedings to have the group removed.

The field is just by the Soccerdome outdoor pitches and immediately behind the car park used by visiting fans on matchdays at the DW.

Whether or not they can be legally moved on before Latics’ season opener against Chelsea on Sunday is, as yet, unknown.

A spokesperson for WLCT has confirmed that they are aware of the incident and are working hard to rectify the situation.

It comes almost a year to the day when one group of travellers settled on the land last summer.

That group was eventually moved on but left litter strewn across the grass, which is also used by local football and rugby teams to play league and cup games.

A clean-up operation was launched shortly after the group’s departure to deal with an horrendous mess and nearby residents were fuming at the state of the land.

It was only after the group left that piles of rubbish were discovered, including human excrement and old television sets.

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust were forced to send a team of officers down to investigate the residents’ complaints and clean the site up.

Last year, there was a question mark hanging over the town’s council run traveller site in Bickershaw.

Wigan and Leigh Housing spent £200,000 on a partial refurbishment but councillors were told much more cash was needed to bring it properly up to scratch.

The site is currently the only council-owned legal traveller community in the borough, although there are a number of privately owned and administered facilities.

Nationally, travellers’ groups complain council-owned pitches are insufficient for their needs, forcing them to pitch up on wasteland.

That shortage of land prompted a huge row between travellers and Essex Council after they attempted to evict a group a site in Dale Farm.