A GROUP of travellers have taken over part of a doctors’ surgery car park in Blackburn, causing difficulties for elderly and disabled patients.

Staff at Little Harwood Health Centre have fielded complaints from patients who have struggled to find a space at the Beech Street car park.

Three families of Irish travellers, in four caravans, have been at the top end of the site for more than a week, but the land owners hope to get a court order forcing them to leave by tomorrow.

A spokesman for the health centre, in Plane Tree Road, said: “Parking is always at a premium here and they are probably taking up about 20 patient spaces. We’ve had a lot of complaints about it. It’s also cost an awful lot of money out of the NHS property budget to take it to court. I’ve been told it’s costing about £7,500.

“They got on before we locked the gate in the evening. We asked them to leave last week, but they just said we’d have to get a court order. We’ve just left them alone since.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council said it was not involved in the case, as the travellers were on private land.

One of the group, a 19-year-old man, who declined to give his name, said: “We’ve come over from Ireland and are making our way south. Because of some health issues, we needed to stop somewhere to see a doctor. My father got ill and has just had an operation at the hospital. He’s not fully recovered and has a follow-up appointment, so we’re waiting until he’s all right again.”

He said the families would be leaving the site tomorrow.

On Sunday, a different group of Irish travellers moved on to a small car park, in Cicely Street, in Blackburn centre.

One of the group told the Lancashire Telegraph they were leaving on Monday evening, but the caravans were still there yesterday.