Time appears to be running out for a group of travellers who are fighting plans to evict them from a field where they have lived for almost five years.
A year after the Court of Appeal threw out their case to be allowed to remain on the land off Fairfield Road, near Hardhorn, a fresh legal challenge has been rejected.
After Fylde Council took steps to evict the group following the ruling, the travellers applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the council’s decision.
They are expected to ask for extra time to decide whether to appeal the decision after the request was rejected by the judge last month.
The move would further prolong the lengthy saga that began in November 2009, when the travellers first set up camp on the land.
Their arrival angered neighbours, who have repeatedly complained of problems with anti-social behaviour over the last five years.
It is not clear what the travellers’ next action would be if an appeal is unsuccessful, but one source suggested they may finally be running out of legal options to delay eviction.
Residents have previously criticised what they perceive as stalling tactics, and have urged the travellers to accept the courts’ decisions.
Fylde Council said it will continue to defend its decision to evict them.
A council spokesman said: “Back in June, the council resolved to ask the travellers to go. They asked for a judicial review of that decision, on the basis it had been made without taking into consideration the needs of the travellers.
“They had seven days to appeal, and that has now expired, but they said they will apply for extra time to lodge an appeal.
“We can only evict them after this long legal process.
“They are well aware of the legal procedures and are fighting their corner tenaciously.”
Pleas to the courts have all fallen on deaf ears
Since they arrived in November 2009, the travellers have failed in a series of bids to make their stay legal.
A retrospective planning application for the site was refused by Fylde Council.
The decision was upheld by the Planning Inspector in August 2011, after a public inquiry.
The travellers appealed to the High Court in 2012, the Court of Appeal in 2013 and the Supreme Court in January this year.
Judges ruled in favour of the council each time.