Gypsy site

PLANS to build a new gypsy and traveller site in Allerdale have taken a step forward this week.

Allerdale Council’s watchdog, the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee, has said they are happy with a new strategy to combat prejudice against gypsies who move to the area.

The strategy, which has been drafted to comply with the Race Relations Act, aims to understand and raise awareness of the needs and culture of gypsies and travellers in the area.

It will look at reducing prejudice and enhancing accommodation, education and employment issues.

This is the first step in the process that will continue over the next few years.

About 40 gypsy and traveller camps are set up in Allerdale every year, but this year the number has increased.

Because there are no authorised sites it often results in the need for legal intervention.

All districts in Cumbria are having research carried out to identify the need for named sites.

The results should be ready by the end of February and then the process of identifying potential sites and bidding for Government money will begin.

Kim Suttle, Allerdale’s housing services manager, said at the moment the council has difficulty with gypsies and travellers because they don’t provide any sites where they can go.

Councillor Barbara Cannon said: “I think the strategy itself is fine and is well overdue.”

In April 2006 plans to create a permanent site in Workington or Maryport were put on hold following strong opposition from residents.

Four sites were earmarked in Workington – the former tannery on the A594, land south of Siddick, land at Oldside and a site south of John Pier pumping station.

In Maryport the three potential sites were land south of the harbour, a site at Ellenborough Place and one at the Glasson Industrial Estate.

The strategy will eventually go before full council.

Editorial Comment:

Oh, here we go again... Gypsy site placed on an Industrial Estate, probably like the site at Earlsfield near Wimbledon, London, where it is right next to the cement works. Ever so healthy. If it is not near such a place then it is right next to sewerage plants, refuse tips, and such places. I guess all but those that are entirely blind can see the pattern. The Gypsy, that is us, the Rom, are seen as nothing more than rubbish.

Michael Smith (Veshengro), January 2008