Oct 6 2005
OFFICIALS at Bracknell Forest Council have been forced into thinking again over their policy document on the right to roam.
Farmers and landowners pressured the authority into an 11th hour change of mind.
To outsiders - many of whom believe the two-year wait for the document is simply too long - there's something of a farce-like quality to the rumpus.
While the government is keen to allow the public to ramble across the wonderful English countryside, it has failed to give a decent level of protection to landowners who fall victim to "rogue walkers".
And, perhaps more importantly, far too little thought has been given to issuing the police and councils with some really tough powers to deal with the problems of roaming traveller communities.
No wonder landowners feel they are being forgotten in the race to get Britain on its feet and fit for a walk in the fields and woods. Berkshire in particular has been blighted by the lawless behaviour of a few gangs of travellers.
Far from the romantic image of true Romany gypsies, these caravan dwellers appear intent on leaving behind a trail of destruction and wreckage when they move on. In the past few weeks, hardly a piece of open space has been left alone by travellers.
For the landowners, the issue is a simple one. They have to pick up the costly bill for cleaning up - and why should they?
Right to roam is an important and worthy cause - but so are the rights of farmers and those who own the land the rest of us would so dearly love to wander across.
What, I pray has the "right to roam" to do with Gypsies & Travellers (note: I did not say "other Travellers") - the fact is that it has to do absolutely kek with it and is an entirely different issue though the author of this comment now wishes to muddy the waters by joining the two. Yet another attempt to confuse the public as regards to Gypsies & Travellers?
Also what is this "romantic image of true Romany gypsies" (and Gypsies again not spelled properly)? We are not some exhibit in a Zoo that people can come and look at with romantic notions - we are a Race of People - the Romani at least (something that cannot be said for the Irish Travellers who are but what the Americans call Trailer Trash) - and we live differently nowadays than did our forebears. Most of us, in fact, live in houses nowadays and if we travel in trailers then no longer on a permanent basis and also not, I am afraid to say, in the nice wooden vardos of old. Wake up, folks. This is the 21st Century.