AN encampment of "sustainable farmers" in Yorkley has been given a six-month stay of execution to apply for the necessary permission to be there.
Yorkley Court, on the edge of the village in Yorkley Lane, was taken over more than a year ago by a settlement of about 20 people, who are farming the land and animals.
They have put up some temporary structures and have brought caravans on to the site but fell foul of planning laws last week when enforcement action was recommended against them for being there without the appropriate permissions.
The group could not be reached by the Gloucester Citizen yesterday but villagers said, by and large, they have won the backing of the community.
Yorkley Primary School has welcomed some of them into class to talk about the importance of nature. They also helped clear and restore the school's nature reserve.
Teacher Lesley Payne said: "Some of them are ex-teachers and some are interested in working with children. Our nature reserve was very overgrown and they have been in to help clear that – they also taught a lesson to every class in the school about the nature reserve and why it's important and have helped run our Eco Club.
"As a school, I can't say whether we do or don't support what they are doing but having become a friend to some of them, they are just trying to be part of the community."
Vicki Beard, from the village's post office and shop, added: "They certainly don't cause any harm or anything.
"They quite often come in here and are supporting the local shop and I've not heard of any trouble with them."
The group has told district council officers not to class them as gypsies, travellers or showpeople.
They call themselves the Yorkley Court Community Land Farm Trust.
District councillor Norman Stephens (I, Newnham and Westbury) proposed giving the group six months to submit a planning application at last week's planning committee. He said: "It's a very interesting site. It's a bit mysterious because no one seems to know who owns the land, but they have a lot of support."
A council spokesman said: "Please note that the deferral itself does not mean that members have said the development is acceptable but they felt that the occupiers should be given their chance to make a case via an application."