Police called as travellers move into West Hampstead school site

Travellers arriving at the Liddell Road industrial estate Picture by local resident, 'Jon'

Travellers arriving at the Liddell Road industrial estate Picture by local resident, 'Jon' - Credit: Archant

A group of travellers has moved into a council-owned site in West Hampstead, prompting a short-lived standoff with the police.

Half-a-dozen caravans were spotted driving into the gated Liddell Road Industrial Estate earlier this afternoon.

Two travellers spoke to the Ham&High, saying they had come down from Brighton because they “fancied a change of scenery”.

The site, a former home to a number of businesses, has been unoccupied since plans were approved for it to be used for a new school building and housing.

A resident of the adjoining Maygrove Road, ‘Jon’, said: “It was from about 2.30pm I first noticed three caravans pulled by white vans in the site.

“I don’t know how they got in. They must have had a key because the chain that’s normally around the gate wasn’t broken.

“Some police cars arrived and parked outside but officers were forced to jump over or squeeze through the gates to get through as the travellers had put their own chain on. They started talking with the travellers inside.

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“In the meantime, other caravans had arrived and were hanging around, until the gates opened and more drove into the site. As I’m speaking another white van has driven into the site.”

The Ham&High has seen more vans arrive in the early evening.

The police had at one point parked their cars in front of the gates, preventing any more caravans entering the site.

However, no police appear to be presently at the site.

A council spokesman said: “Camden Council is aware of the current situation. The police are present and working with the contractor who is responsible for the site to manage this.”