Travellers to be evicted from Montrose East Links

The site on the East Links
The site on the East Links

Caravans camped on common land at Montrose’s East Links for a Christian festival have been served with an eviction notice.

A massive blue-and-white tent, erected in the middle of the vans, was to play host to an evangelical Christian ‘Tent Revival’ meeting, or series of meetings, organised by the Light and Life Gypsy Church.

Such events normally require permissions, licenses and Health and Safety inspections in order to go ahead.

Without these in place, any meetings would become illegal.

Indeed, Angus Council updated their statement from initially saying it was “monitoring the situation” to the following: “We are aware of the encampment at East Links and we are taking legal action.”

The camp, which has been expanding by the day, has caused widespread concern among Montrosians.

First to be affected were a group of Junior golfers, playing on the pitch-and-putt course on Saturday (May 16) as the caravans started to arrive.

The Juniors faced more disruption on Monday night when their scheduled practice group had to find an alternative area in which to play.

Alan Crow, former chairman of Montrose Golf Links, told us: “There has been considerable disruption to play and I understand they were served with an eviction notice on Monday morning (May 18) and have 48 hours in which to leave.”

The East Links has traditionally been used as a passing through area for travellers, and as the Review understands, legislations allow this. However, residents have suggested that a barrier or post be erected to limit future vehicle access to the land.

Councillor David May stated he had never seen so many travellers at the Links in 25 years.

“I was contacted about this at the end of last week and have made contact with the police, as well as the council officer.

“I have also contacted the constituency MSP Nigel Don about this and have invited him to meet me on the Links to discuss the need for his government to look at changes to the legislation,” he said.

Montrose councillor Paul Valentine, who chairs the police committee, visited the site and was told by the travellers that they were looking to move by the end of the week, prior to the eviction notice being served.

Mr Valentine said: “The police are working as they have before in their dealings, abiding by the laws as they stand, and the council will continue to pursue illegal gatherings.

‘‘We’ll do everything we can while working within the system. The legislation is the cause of the problem. “Montrosians shouldn’t feel intimidated to use the common land.”