Thursday, 29 March 2012

Irish Travellers in Truro "could be there for some time"

From the West Briton

Inspector Mark Richards told councillors that Travellers on a Cornwall Council site on the edge of Truro could be there for some time. He broke the news during his presentation to Truro City Council at City Hall on Monday evening....The meeting also heard Travellers who had originally set up camp on Kenwyn playing fields and then moved to the Moresk car park had now relocated to Cornwall Council-owned land at Newham.

Mr Richards said: "There's a certain amount of leverage that Cornwall Council might put on them to move to an approved site. I suspect they're going to stay for a while because there's work."

Mr Richards said he was not aware of any complaints from residents about the latest Traveller site.

A spokesman for Cornwall Council said the Travellers had been issued with a direction under Section 77 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 instructing them to leave the site.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Telegraph Hill News

From the BBC

Illegal Haldon Travellers site could be made permanent

Haldon Travellers site Consultations are taking place between the Travellers are the authorities

Between 30 and 50 Travellers, many of whom have children at local schools, have lived on the site in Haldon Forest, near Exeter, since 2002.

Teignbridge District Council will decide later whether to support a planning application from Teign Housing to create 15 permanent pitches.

Teign Housing has secured more than £1m from the government's Homes and Community Agency (HCA).

The HCA funding includes £125,581 which could be used for clearing the current site and the transfer of the land from Devon County Council to Teignbridge District Council.

'Other solutions'

A permanent site would have 15 hard-standing pitches and amenities such as electricity, water, showers and toilets.

Anyone living there would have to pay a fee, which would include a service charge to Teign Housing, and the pitches would also be subject to council tax.

Penny Dane, community development worker for Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council, said Teign Housing's proposal for a 15-pitch site was an "appropriate" size.

"The council feels that smaller sites generally work better than larger ones," she told BBC News.

"But if people want to stay and there are not enough pitches, we hope Teignbridge council will continue to look for other solutions."

Ms Dane said the Haldon Travellers, like any other diverse group, may have differing opinions over what those solutions could be, adding that it was important to remember that consultations between the travellers and the authorities were still ongoing.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

New Traveller Sites for the Lizard Peninsula

From the Falmouth Packet:

Two sites in the St Keverne parish have been earmarked as potential pitches on which travellers can set up home.

The location of both sites is currently being kept firmly under wraps by Cornwall Council, which is in secret talks with the travellers and the area’s councillors.

However Pam Lyne, Cornwall Councillor for St Keverne and Meneage, said during a meeting of St Keverne Parish Council that county officers had “two sites in mind.”

Speaking after the meeting she confirmed: “They want to ask St Keverne parish councillors which site they would prefer. As soon as they decide they prefer A to B then planning permission will be drawn up.”

Once the plans have been submitted the location of the intended site will be revealed.

It is liable to cause some controversy in the parish and the surrounding areas, with Gypsy and Traveller camps a sensitive issue.

It is understood that Coverack ward members have already met to discuss the possibilities.

Travellers have been living on the Cornwall Council-owned car park in Coverack for around five years.

In January two local residents complained to St Keverne Parish Council that they felt “victimised” after being fined for failing to pay for a parking ticket in the car park – when the Travellers had been staying there “for free” for years.

Jill Bosustow added to members: “Travellers say they’re being victimised but we are, because we’re the ones that pay our rates.”

Council chairman Russell Peters described her predicament as “appalling” and said Coverack was “just being forgotten.”

Back in January Cornwall Council announced that more than £1 million of funding had been set aside to help create 30 new pitches in Cornwall for Romany Gypsies, Irish Travellers and New Travellers.

The plan was for a network of small sites to be developed across Cornwall, to meet existing needs and to address unauthorised encampments.

Mark Kaczmarek, Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for housing and planning, said at the time: “Cornwall Council is committed to ensuring that members of the travelling communities have the same rights, including fair access to education for their children and health services, and responsibilities as every other person.

“We want to find small sites of between five to ten pitches, probably on council owned land, in consultation with local members and town and parish councils.

“Carrick Housing and the council will then take forward the most viable, which take into account how the sites could link into the existing infrastructure.

“New sites will be properly managed sites which will benefit Gypsies and Travellers and the local settled community alike.

“Gypsies and Travellers and the settled community can work together and we’ve all got something in common in wanting our children to be healthy and educated.”

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Marley Head Travellers Prepare For Forced Eviction

From the BBC:

Travellers illegally parked at a Devon site face a High Court action to forcibly remove them.

Dartmoor National Park, the planning authority for the site at Marley Head in South Brent, is applying for an injunction at the High Court in Bristol on 19 April.

The privately-owned land has been occupied since January 2007.

There were 29 unauthorised Traveller encampments - housing 203 adults and 70 children - in Devon in 2010/11.

A planning enforcement notice was served in June 2010 requiring the Marley Head occupiers to leave by 6 May 2011, but that was not complied with. There are currently about 30 people living there.

The park authority said members had considered "all potential options" before agreeing to apply for a High Court injunction "to secure a cessation of the breach of planning control".

It said it would be working closely with South Hams District Council, which has responsibility for housing Travellers, and Devon County Council which has responsibility for welfare of Travellers.

The Devon Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Service said in a report last year that the "high level" of unauthorised encampments in Devon "once again demonstrates the shortage of sites".

A spokesman for South Hams District Council said: "The council does not have any authorised grouped Gypsy and Traveller sites, apart from a limited number of pitches for individual families."

see also: National Park launches new action to close Travellers' site

Travellers should be left to live their lives - letter in the Western Morning News