Traveller family evicted from site they occupied for 14 years

Cottage Wood - heated exchanges as traveller family are evicted.
Cottage Wood – heated exchanges as traveller family are evicted.

THERE WERE HEATED exchanges on Monday as a travelling family were evicted from a site in Keith that they have occupied for 14 years.

Moray Council obtained an eviction order at Elgin Sheriff Court to remove the McPhee family from the site at Cottage Wood in Keith where they set up home in 2001.

Sheriff Officers called on police to assist in removing caravans from the site which Moray Council say is a former dump and so “highly toxic” – insisting that they have a “duty of care” to remove the McPhee family from the site.

The family, however, say that no investigation has been held to prove the land is hazardous, and in their attempts to stop the eviction taking place tyres on the departing trailers were slashed. With the situation threatening to further boil over when bollards were put in place to block the main roads into the site, police were again called.

Alexander McPhee insisted that the area where his caravan was had not been included in the court papers and so the family should have been given “another day in court”. He told a P&J reporter: “We have been fair with the council and we are not stopping them coming in here – we are asking if that lower road can be left open so we can get in and out with stuff.

“That is a picnic area on right of way – it is nothing to do with here and it has never been tested, it is not contaminated ground down there but they are blocking the main road at the bottom.”

Mr McPhee added that the family were “doing nobody any harm” and insisted that they would work with the Council if they found them a “bit of ground”, adding: “But they turn up here and they treat us like dogs and animals.”

A spokesman for Moray Council said that they were pleased everything went smoothly: “The council simply could not ignore the risk to health of those who had been occupying the site and it was on that basis that the eviction order was sought from the court.”