- finding a place to live
- and public perception
Taken from Lords’ Hansard, 24 January 2012. See more.
Indeed the Secretary of State mentioned, Eric Pickles, was recently found guilty of unlawful discrimination. What example does this set for the rest of society?
Remember the opening line of Gypsies Stop there (2008)? 'People threatened with eviction, due to no fault of their own, being unjustly hounded out. It's mediaeval the way they're treated, don't you think?' The young activist, Natalie, is testing out the affluent village newcomer, Kay.
Well, perhaps there is some recognition at last of the need for transit sites. Damien le Bas wrote in February’s Traveller Times: 'A special meeting at the House of Lords has heard how fresh approaches to temporary stopping by Travellers can reduce tensions and save considerable amounts of money, compared with the traditional cycle of evictions from place to place.'
Meanwhile many councils around the UK impose what amounts to a blanket ban on all sites, regardless. The town here is Harlow in Essex, not far from Dale Farm site from which hundreds of Travellers were evicted. Hardly a surprise. Inadequate alternative provision was made for them, I seem to recall. On the other hand there was one shining example where a local authority near Bath perhaps tried too hard. Is this what Gypsies and Travellers want? My guess is such expenditure is likely to be criticized in the wider community, and this plan did not allow the families to build their own homes more cheaply and according to their cultural needs. However, it does look good!
A Solihull Housing Association seems to have got it right.
If you have any comments or first-hand stories relating to site provision in the past five years, I would love to hear from you. This can be an information gathering process.
Closer to home here in the UK, Damien le Bas writes in The Travellers Times about how some girls were refused entry to a bowling alley because of their 'nomadic' heritage.
The ruling set out in Eric Pickles proposals (Daily Telegraph, 23 January 2015) where Travellers must prove they are ‘nomadic’ to get planning concessions may seem logical on the face of it, but this is not something that can happen overnight simply to comply with a law. In practice this would divide families and communities, causing great hardship. Family is the backbone of the Travelling community.
Land for Development is Scarce
We all know this. Any young person (say under the age of 40) trying to buy or even rent a home these days is hard pushed, even those in the well-qualified, higher-paid, professional bracket. I just mention this, to point out that Gypsies and Travellers are not the only ones with a problem, not the only adults having to share and double-up in cramped accommodation.I do not know if this will make anyone feel better or worse about the lack of provision, but I feel it is a point worth making.