Families in South London are furious at travellers who have set up shop on Kew Green and refuse to leave – branding it an “eyesore” – but travellers have defended their arrival.

Travellers have spoken out and say they are “not all the same”, claiming they are not staying long, are clean and are keeping their children “under control”.

Richmond Council is taking legal action within the next few days to remove the travellers, who arrived on August 4.

Kew resident Olivier Jefferson, said: “Prevention is part of the solution. For a small amount of money, a small guardrail could have been put around this triangle that would have prevented these cumbersome vehicles standing here.”

The 60-year-old added: “So, it’s a simply obvious avoidable problem that nobody has cared to think about or address, and to me that is so typical of Richmond Council that they don’t think when they put into operation.”

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Families in South London are furious at travellers who have set up shop on Kew GreenFamilies in South London are furious at travellers who have set up shop on Kew Green

Lucy Carrick, a Richmond resident said: “It’s obviously a bit of an eyesore and it’s a shame and the litter it actually leads to.

“But I don’t know what the personal stories are of the people here.”

John Smith, 55, from Clapham was visiting a friend, he said: “When I walked past, I thought it was a fair – quite funny really isn’t it?”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, traveller Tina Connors, said: “We don’t really stay in one place too long anyway but we don’t get long enough like maybe if we got a week to 10 days somewhere, we’d move again but we don’t, we only get two or three days.

“We won’t stay for months or permanently stay in the place. Maybe we could move to Birmingham tomorrow or move to Chester or somewhere.”

The 24-year-old added: “We’re not all the same, we bag our rubbish, we keep the place clean, we keep our children under control.

“I know some travellers do give a bad reputation for other travellers but we don’t. We try to leave it clean and tidy before we leave.”

Tina claimed one local woman told her to stay as long as she likes.

Council officers have visited the site to carry out an assessment and told the 21 caravans to move on.  The council is starting a legal process to make sure they leave the site.  The legal process could take a few days and is necessary due to a High Court order passed earlier this year that stated council’s have to go via the courts each time for issues like this.

A spokesman for Richmond Council said: “The council, along with Park Guard and the police, will continue to liaise with the group and monitor the site. We will update residents in the area throughout the process.

“When the travellers do leave, the council will repair any damage and remove any waste left on the Green.”

Councillor Julia Neden-Watts, said: “A group of travellers has arrived in Kew.

“Council officers have started the legal action required to expedite their departure.

“Due to a recent court ruling, this process will not be as fast as residents would like and I know that they will be concerned, but we have to work within the law.”

She added: “As soon as the travellers leave, we will inspect the area and ensure that any damage is repaired, and waste removed.

“Our Park Guard officers, along with the Police, will be monitoring the site closely until the group depart.”