SHANTY STRUGGLE Hippies have set up shanty town right next to our homes with HUNDREDS of caravans – it’s destroyed our area

HIPPIES have set up a "shanty town" of storage containers and caravans near the homes of fed-up Glastonbury residents.

Locals say people interested in "alternative lifestyles" are coming to the town but end up living on the grounds of a "derelict listed building" and causing "distress" to others.

Locals have voiced their fury at outsiders coming to the town
Locals have voiced their fury at outsiders coming to the townCredit: Rob Perkins
Inside Glastonbury's ZigZag building
Inside Glastonbury's ZigZag buildingCredit: Facebook
People gather at Glastonbury's ZigZag building premises for a social event
People gather at Glastonbury's ZigZag building premises for a social eventCredit: Facebook
Pictured: A vehicle seen in the area surrounding the ZigZag building
Pictured: A vehicle seen in the area surrounding the ZigZag buildingCredit: Facebook

Supermarket staff are complaining of shoplifting and residents are now resorting to moving their children away from nearby schools due to "antisocial behaviour", furious homeowners claim.

There appears to be around 200 caravans, campervans and similar temporary residences in the area.

And Glastonbury's ZigZag building, which was built in 1934 and historically used for sheepskin product manufacturing, has even become a home to some newcomers, according to locals.

Retired carpenter Les Webb, 76, said: "We’ve had a real problem with those seeking an alternative lifestyle coming to Glastonbury.“They come here looking some sort of idyllic life and end up living in the grounds of a derelict listed building.

“Some have even made the ZigZag building their home."

Local businessman Anthony Pearson, 64, said: “We really need to protect this site as it is an historically important one.

“But the current owners don’t seem to want to develop it in a way that would be good for the town."Another resident said there was a real problem with a "loose-knit shanty town" of travellers.

Michael Dobson, 56, said: “To talk about Glastonbury as a place of refuge and compassion is to absolutely ignore the awful experiences of people who have to live near these loose-knit shanty towns. 

“Staff at local supermarkets have complained to us about the amount of shoplifting which is coming from the people living in the caravans around their shops.

“People are frightened about the amount of people coming into the town who have got absolutely no connection with the area.”

Another local added: “I’m not saying that people who live up there are by definition antisocial and behave badly – I'm sure that is not true at all.

“But the situation is at the moment that there are people living up there that cause a great deal of distress to the residents.

“Ordinary people around the town are fed up. There are people who are moving their children from a local school because of the antisocial behaviour."

A public inquiry into alleged planning breaches relating to the use of The ZigZag building ended last week.

The building is currently being used as a community and performance space.

Somerset Council has issued enforcement notices after expressing concerns about the building's new use, as well as the living conditions of those in the building.

In the enforcement notices the council demanded the unauthorised mixed use of the land for storage and residential use was stopped; all caravans, steel containers, goods and chattels were permanently removed; and the land was restored to its original condition before the unauthorised material change of use.

Chris Black, who bought the ZigZag building more than 10 years ago, has been contacted for comment.

On the building's Facebook page, a spokesman wrote last month: "During [the] last decade Zigzag became a sanctuary or home for 146 people from 21 nationalities (so far we can remember), who stayed more than 2 weeks, mostly for months, many for years...

"People from different cultures, countries, backgrounds, race, sexual orientation and beliefs...

"Zigzag connected us with more than 250 Friday food nights, music events, theatres, performances, open days, b day parties, wedding, textile, pottery, basket making, paper making, archery and wood workshops...

"We had yoga lessons,dance lessons, ceilidhs, therapies, film makers, music video makers and much much more...

"We will always be grateful to Zigzag, this amazing, magical, crazy and never boring place in the edge of industrial estate of Glastonbury...

"Zigzag our home, playground and the best dancefloor in the world."

When asked about local complaints, a spokesperson for Somerset Council said: "If people witness anti-social behaviour such as street drinking, vandalism or littering they should report it to the Police or to Somerset Council.

"Reports of antisocial behaviour will help the Council and its partners to tackle problems together."The Council can be contacted on 0300 123 2224 where a report will be passed on to the Community Safety Team to investigate.

"Police can be contacted by phoning 101 or in an emergency 999."

Les Webb in front of the ZigZag
Les Webb in front of the ZigZagCredit: Rob Perkins
Anthony Pearson
Anthony PearsonC

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