ENRAGED residents branded councillors “spineless worms” as Lewisham’s mayor agreed to consult on a travellers site on their road.

People in Church Grove, Ladywell, who thought they had defeated a previous attempt four years ago to build a site at the former Watergate School, were furious with the decision.

As Sir Steve Bullock agreed to consult, protestors shouted back at him.

Simon Raper, who had earlier spoken on residents’ behalf, said: “Why are you putting us through all of this again? Is it sheer bloody-mindedness? Do you want to tear up a community?”

He said: “We’ve been bullied by the council. We’ll fight this. We’ll not give in. This time we’re very angry.”

Residents had only discovered the issue was back on the table when News Shopper paid them a visit this week, something ward councillor Cllr Damien Egan agreed was “not acceptable”.

Earlier, Councillor Alan Smith told the mayor and cabinet meeting that Lewisham is the only London borough without a permanent site for gypsies and travellers – a requirement under the Housing Act.

Officers had selected Church Grove from more than 40 sites, saying it met the criteria of suitability, planning constraints and availablilty. Among the options they ruled out was the lorry park behind the council’s Laurence House.

But Church Grove people insist the small road, which has cars parked on one side, is far too narrow for a typical 2.55 metre caravan and there is a general lack of access.

The residents, who claim they are backed by Lewisham Deptford MP Joan Ruddock, said that during work to demolish the school, lorries had to drive up on the narrow pavement to get through.

And Mr Raper, in his address to the meeting, questioned whether there was any great desire from travellers to move to Church Grove.

Clare Brynley-Jones from Church Grove told News Shopper they would now seek legal advice and start raising awareness in the area.

Councillors agreed to their request for a site visit.