Saturday, August 15, 2009
FROM THE GAZETTE AND HERALD
Gypsies near Hullavington told to go
11:30am Friday 14th August 2009
By Joe Ware
Gypsy families who have been told they must leave land they own near Hullavington have invited anyone who is worried about their way of life to pop in for a chat.
But unless they can persuade a planning inspector they should stay they will have to go on the road again.
The six families, who own the Rose Field Caravan Site, applied for permission to allow six mobile homes and six touring caravans but Wiltshire Council’s planning committee turned the plan down.
Father of four Johnny McCann, 40, said the situation is keeping him up at night.
“I can’t sleep at the moment, this whole thing is giving me nightmares,” he said.
“We don’t have anywhere else to go, it takes years to get onto a council pitch and our children are all settled in school.
“We really want our children to get a proper education and get proper jobs. I never went to school and I want my kids to be better off than I was. You can do anything with the right education.
“If Barack Obama can become President of America then, with the right education, a traveller could become Prime Minister.”
Mr McCann said their neighbours in the village had been very welcoming.
“The people at the school have been great and the children are all settling down really well,” he said.
“We get on fine with everyone. The farmers come down to have a chat and the people in the garage near Buckley Barracks are great. If anyone else wants to come and see us they would be welcomed.”
The gypsies moved on to the site on April 17.
Planning officers last month refused the application due the unsuitability of the road which links the Rose Field site to the main road.
The report stated that: “The access road by reason of its restricted width, poor alignment and sub-standard junctions with the A429 is considered unsuitable to service as a means of access to the proposed development.”
Wiltshire Council cabinet member for Planning Toby Sturgis added that the site entrance was on a blind bend.
But Mr McCann said they had consulted an independent highways inspector who said there was no problem with the road.
Mr McCann said: “The inspector said the road was fine. There may not be any road markings there but two cars can pass each other at 25 to 30mph.”
He confirmed the families would be appealing the decision.
Coun Howard Greenman who is a member of the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Working Group said the council had to stick to government regulations.
He said: “Although the local authority is required to find suitable sites it has to follow stringent guidelines laid down by central Government.
“The road is why the application was turned down.”
Hullavington Parish Council chairman, William Harmer, said that although the gypsies are not looking for problems and are keen to integrate with the local community the council had reservations about their location.
He said: “The site is in an area which is known to be susceptible to flooding and it’s outside the permitted development area which would create a precedent.”
The situation facing Roma/Travelers in Britain has been bad for centuries.
In the 1990's The Caravan Sites Act was passed which stated that Gypsies could only camp on approved caravan sites, sort of like reservations for Native Americans.
Ironically, they didn't designate any "approved" sites which made it technically illegal for Gypsies to camp anywhere in England.
There now are some government approved sites, but a woefully inadequate number. Gypsies face opposition in every burrough and district where they try to establish a camp, even if they own the land. Hmmmm.
Posted by Morgan at 3:16 PM