web stats

I’m being kicked out of Britain’s ‘Caravan City’ – posh locals moan about rubbish but I’ll never move back into a house

VAN DWELLERS accused of turning a posh pocket of Bristol into a “caravan city” are yet to leave despite being given official marching orders.

Bristol City Council last month stuck notices on several of the 800 or so caravans parked in the leafy Downs area of the city.

Pics - Adrian Sherratt - 07976 237651 .The 'caravan city' which has grown on Durdham Down in Bristol (19 Mar 2024).. .
Bristol Council has seen enough of Caravan City
Pics - Adrian Sherratt - 07976 237651 .The 'caravan city' which has grown on Durdham Down in Bristol (19 Mar 2024).. .
Locals complained the ‘city’ was an eyesore on their posh area
Pics - Adrian Sherratt - 07976 237651 .The 'caravan city' which has grown on Durdham Down in Bristol (19 Mar 2024)..- Maths tutor Callum.. .
Van owners like Callum have said ‘horrible’ house prices are to blame

They stated the vehicles need to “vacate the site within 14 days” and “failure to do so may result in legal action”.

But despite the two-week deadline passing on June 26, many dwellers remained in so-called caravan city.

The area – made up of Clifton Down and Durdham Down – was once described by Sir David Attenborough as the “jewel in the city’s crown”.

But hundreds of people have given up on traditional homes, instead turning to life on wheels as house prices soar.

The transformed neighbourhood has angered residents, leading to the June 12-dated council order for caravans to depart.

The notice also stipulated abandoned vehicles would be removed amid fears of inappropriate disposal of human waste.

Some refused to speak about whether they planned to leave or face legal proceedings and it is thought many of the vans have simply been abandoned.

Paul, who withheld his surname, has lived on the Downs for two months but said he would be leaving this week.

The 63-year-old, who lived in his van for three years, said: “It’s a shame really – I’ve enjoyed living here but it’s not worth the hassle with the council and the police.

“I honestly don’t know where I’ll go at this point – I’m not working, I’m on a state pension, so that gives me some freedom but also, you know, it’s not loads to live on.


“I love living in my van – I’ll never move back to a house or flat – but it’s a shame you know, some of the backlash we’ve faced.”

Others said they were staying put until next week or planning to uproot today.

But they admitted they had no idea where they would go as they had lived in vans in the area for years.

A 70-year-old retired van dweller who goes by ‘Gandy’ said: “I’ve lived in a van for seven years now and have lived on-and-off on the Downs for at least four of those.

“I don’t know where I’ll go yet, it doesn’t matter really, but I do sort of agree with the notice because we don’t really have any right to be here.

“We had the police here last week – telling us everybody has to go or our vehicles will be towed.

“I love living in my van – I’ll never move back to a house or flat – but it’s a shame you know, some of the backlash we’ve faced.”


Paulvan dweller

“To be honest – I think at least half, or more, of the caravans left here now are abandoned or have just been left here for storage.”

Bristol Pride Day – a festival with an expected turnout of 40,000 people – will take place on the nearby Clifton Down on Saturday, July 13.

Many vans and caravans remain on the lane and nearby Saville Road – and although a large number look abandoned, some are still clearly inhabited.

Despite anger from some nearby residents – where houses can sell for millions – not all were supportive of the enforcement action.

Jenny Cross, a 71-year-old retiree who lives near Clifton Down, said: “I don’t really mind the vans to be honest.

“I sort of feel like there isn’t enough accommodation in Bristol. Some people are forced to live in an alternative way, some people chose to live in an alternative way.

“I disagree with the eviction notice if they haven’t got anywhere else to go – I don’t think it’s fair.”

I moved into caravan – my pals called me bonkers

Jon Rogers

A RETIREE gave up everything to live in a caravan and his pals thought he was bonkers.

Roger Mole, 77, bought a battered caravan which was set in a farmer’s field in the commune of Fleurac, in the Dordogne region, southwest France, so he could design and build his own dream house.

When his divorce was finalised in January 2012, he started to think about selling his business and retiring.

A friend who was living in France suggested he come and do an exploratory visit to see what he thought.

Roger had only been in France a few days when he found what he described as “my” house – a converted barn in the Dordogne that had been empty for four years.

His offer was accepted and he spent the next nine years making improvements.

Liesl, 48, said she “didn’t have a massive objection” to the van dwellers but had concerns about rubbish left near the site.

The therapist, who lives near Clifton Down, said: “I’ve stopped walking my dog that way only because she ate some of the rubbish they’ve left out there before and it really worried me.

“I’m scared of what she might eat – there is a lot of rubbish near some of the vans.”

Bristol City Council has been contacted for comment.

A spokesperson previously said: “On June 12, the council’s neighbourhood enforcement team visited the encampment on Parry’s Lane and Saville Road to conduct a welfare check and assessment following complaints received from residents and councillors.

“During this visit, a letter was issued to occupants requesting they vacate the land in the next 14 days.

“This letter is an informal request and offers the vehicle dwellers the opportunity to open a dialogue about the concerns we have raised.

“The neighbourhood enforcement team remains in conversation with the occupants of the Parry’s Lane encampment and will revisit the area on June 26 to assess if further action, as a result of any vehicles remaining on site, is necessary.”

Pics - Adrian Sherratt - 07976 237651 .The 'caravan city' which has grown on Durdham Down in Bristol (19 Mar 2024).. .
Caravan City has grown on Durdham Down in Bristol
People living in vans and caravans on the Downs have been asked to “vacate” the site within 14 days by Bristol City Council. Notices have been attached to some vehicles parked on Parry’s Lane stating failure to leave the area within two weeks could result in “legal proceedings”. Bristol. June 21 2024. Photo released June 24 2024.Van-dwellers parked by a popular picnic spot in Bristol have been ordered to leave - or face "legal proceedings".Bristol City Council are attempting to remove a group of caravans and camper vans parked on Parry’s Lane and Saville Road on the Downs.Notices have been attached to several vehicles parked in the area saying they need to "vacate" the site within 14 days."The notice states "failure to do so may result in Bristol City Council taking legal proceedings to remove you and the vehicles"..
While some locals have complained about the vans, not all agree with the eviction
People living in vans and caravans on the Downs have been asked to “vacate” the site within 14 days by Bristol City Council. Notices have been attached to some vehicles parked on Parry’s Lane stating failure to leave the area within two weeks could result in “legal proceedings”. Bristol. June 21 2024. Photo released June 24 2024.Van-dwellers parked by a popular picnic spot in Bristol have been ordered to leave - or face "legal proceedings".Bristol City Council are attempting to remove a group of caravans and camper vans parked on Parry’s Lane and Saville Road on the Downs.Notices have been attached to several vehicles parked in the area saying they need to "vacate" the site within 14 days."The notice states "failure to do so may result in Bristol City Council taking legal proceedings to remove you and the vehicles"..
Van owners have vowed never to return to houses or flats

About admin