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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Travellers putting Barrow businessman at risk of bankruptcy

A BUSINESSMAN says he could go bust after Travellers set up home on land where he plans to build a skate park.

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FRUSTRATED Jason Keith with the Travellers’ caravans on his land at James Freel Close where he is poised to build an indoor skate park HARRY ATKINSON REF: 50052965B000

Building work was due to start two weeks ago and Jason Keith is furious at having to cough up £350 a week to store the building.

He says family life is suffering and the delay is crippling him financially.

The Travellers say they will move – but need a new place to go in Barrow as their children are attending local schools.

Barrow Borough Council say they have offered them land on Cavendish Dock Road and will be taking action if they don’t leave.

Mr Keith, 43, and his wife Jane, from Priors Walk, Ireleth, were given the green light by council planners in July to go-ahead with their plans for a purpose-built, indoor skate park.

When it is finished UrbanExtreme Ltd will create up to 10 new jobs.

Mr and Mrs Keith, 42, decided around two years ago they wanted to set up the venture and started looking for land.

They bought a plot in James Freel Close, Barrow, earlier this year and were planning to start building it a fortnight ago.

Mr Keith, a former semi-pro BMX rider said: “I’m going to go bankrupt if they don’t get off the land. They moved on about three weeks ago. I want rid of them.

“I was going to go on with a digger and start work but I was told by the council that that was intimidation.

“It’s costing me £350 a week to store the building to go on the site, which is nearly finished.

“This is having a massive affect on me and my family.

“I want the council to do something.

“I’m trying to set up a business that’s going to create local jobs and something for youngsters but I can’t even get started because of this.”

Bill Johnson, speaking on behalf of the Travellers, said they were sympathetic to Mr Keith’s plight but they had nowhere else to go after being moved from Walney.

He said: “We will move as soon as the council give us somewhere.

“We are like a yo-yo going around this town. We are Romany people and we just want some land, with facilities, where we can be settled.”

David Joyce, the council’s commercial estates manager said they had offered the Travellers alternative land and would be following official policy and protocol.

He added: “We have carried out an assessment and spoken to them and they said they would leave next week. We are now looking at taking possession of the land.”

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