RESIDENTS living by a traveller site fear it is slowly being expanded, four years after a series of major evictions ended.

According to settled residents living among several legal and a handful of unauthorised traveller pitches off Hovefields Avenue, Wickford, there have been a number of changes in ownership and caravans arriving in recent months.

Southend Standard:

New arrival? Mobile home blocks Hovefields Avenue

The latest arrival came on Monday at about 2pm when a large mobile home on the back of a delivery vehicle blocked Hovefields Avenue for a number of hours.

Southend Standard:

From the sky: Hovefields before evictions began in 2005

A man, aged in his forties living nearby, who did not want to be named, said: “Things are slowly getting bad up here again. One guy seems to be buying up all the pitches and some of the legal ones have been illegally split in two. We were not sure where the mobile home which turned up was going.

“The council is slow to do anything.

Southend Standard:

Wrecking crew: Digger makes light work of mobile home during 2006 eviction

They refused planning permission for another legal pitch to be divided, then took no action when the deadline passed and we are now told another planning application has gone in.”

There have been about 16 legal pitches since the late Nineties. By 2002, the site had more than doubled in size with about 25 illegal ones.

From 2005 to 2010 Basildon Council cleared about 20 illegal pitches by using bailiffs. About five illegal ones remain at various stages of the planning process.

Southend Standard:  Eyesore  the rubbish left uncleared at Hovefields travellers site

Cleared: the illegal site post eviction

A council spokesman said: “After receiving reports, we are investigating.”