Cornwall Council's successful bid to the Homes and Communities Agency Traveller Pitch Funding Programme was very welcome news and a big step forward for Cornwall's Gypsies and Travellers, however a step is all it is and there is still no guarantee that the much needed sites will actually get built.
Attempts over the past two decades to develop new local authority sites in Cornwall have faced fierce opposition and have ultimately come to nothing. Inevitably as details emerge residents' 'action groups' will be formed, land will be scoured for evidence of rare newts, every other person will say "if they don't travel they can't be Travellers" as if they are the first person to think of it and the consultation period will be used to complain they aren't being consulted.
It is of course right and proper that those affected by any development, be it a Gypsy site or a supermarket, should have the opportunity to have their views listened to and noted. Our concern is that rational, balanced and informed discussion may struggle to be heard against the background noise.
We will up date this post with responses from the media, bloggers and forums as we come across them.
Kicking off the debate we have Porthleven County Councillor Andrew Wallis' blog post More Gypsy and Traveller Sites Required.
"Gypsies are getting more than a million pounds of taxpayers cash to pitch up permanently in Cornwall" Cornwall Community News.
Falmouth journalism students blogs about the TV piece he is making for his course - The friendly man from “Swilly”
The Cornish Social and Economic Research Group (CoSERG) points out that "new pitches are an appropriate response to the needs of this community. Doubtless the identification of sites will result in local opposition, though the numbers are so low especially in comparison to proposed new developments, that opposition to these and not unsustainable proposals would appear odd."
Press release from Cornwall Council
Letter in the Falmouth Packet
Secret Travellers site plans to cause misunderstanding