New warning about localism for Gypsies and Travellers

A charity has warned that local communities could have the power to prevent Gypsy and Traveller sites being developed in their area, if a new law is passed.

According to a new report by the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain, the Government’s proposed Localism Bill will put planning decisions for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation in the hands of local councils and communities.

This could lead to a shortage of authorised sites in the face of local objections, says the charity.

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4 responses to “New warning about localism for Gypsies and Travellers

  1. NanaPat

    While anyone would feel sympathy for those individuals whose life choices have been publicly trashed, I find it very difficult to have sympathy for the principle of a choice that is in direct conflict with modern life. I choose to live my life in a conventional and law-abiding fashion, yet my hopes and dreams can be ruined by those who choose another way. I have no recourse to either retrieve my dreams or be compensated for their loss. There is not even a mechanism for that loss to be recorded. What I find most depressing about the whole issue of gypsy/traveller and residential society interaction is how long the issue has been a “problem”. More than THIRTY years ago, I was involved with a voluntary group trying to help provide gypsy children with play facilities. The “anti” arguments raised then are ones current today. Hasn’t there got to be (a) reason(s) for that?

  2. Chris Whitworth

    NanaPat sums up my views well. S/he also makes the points some of my friends raised (but unfortunately did not take up the offer to post here). In summary – Often these groups, just by their existence, challenge “the rest of us”. We perceive they “get away with it” – whatever it is, not paying, not taxing, not obeying the rules. Wandering around this site over the last few weeks has taught me new facts -or is that factoids? It has also made me realise how common my views are. Perhaps thats not totally good?

    One final point. I now live in Poland. I have not seen a Traveller problem so far. But I have heard exactly the same views expressed about Rumanians, Ukranians, the Chinese and Pakistanis. Poland, although very cosmopolitan in some areas, is very racist in others. So- maybe its just human nature and a fear of the unknown.

    My only offer of a solution- education and more mixing. Perhaps that can only be achieved by more rigorous policing (with a small and a large P). But all the while we are run by the greedy and corrupt, it just aint going to happen, simply because they are not directly affected by it! Sorry to end on a negative note but – Well done Marta, you have opened my eyes.

    • Thanks for another comment, Chris. It’s easy to feel negative about the situation but I was rather heartened by a trip I made to March in Cambridgeshire today to visit several Gypsy and Traveller sites that are managed by Fenland Council on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council. If Dale Farm in Essex is at one end of the spectrum, then the two sites I saw today are at the other. They were of modest size (one with 12 pitches and the other with 24) and were planned developments, managed by a small team at the council. The rapport between the staff and the residents there was plain to see. Fenland Council was also noted in a recent report (A Big or Divided Society?) for forging positive relations with the Gypsy and Traveller community and seeking to avoid retrospective planning applications and unauthorised developments by encouraging Gypsies and Travellers to approach the council first. Look out for a report on my visit later this week.

  3. Chris Whitworth

    Sounds like competence in a council- wonderful and so rare. If those “in power” can only use the blindingly obvious to build links and share worldviews we can really change the future!

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