Cost of Gypsy Sites revamp causes outrage

by Michael Smith

This kind of headline and even worse we are seeing on an almost weekly basis in Britain when local authorities mention that this or that Gypsy Site in their area is being refurbished or such.

The local residents end up in arms, often aided and abetted by one or the other local councilor or even Member of Parliament, as to the cost of the revamps of those sites.

It is strange though that when a “normal” housing estate gets a multi-million Pound Sterling revamp no one says a word against it and everyone, generally, says how necessary such a refurbishment was of this or that estate.

When it comes to the Gypsy (and the Travelers) then there is one law and rule for the Gadje, for the non-Gypsy population, and one for the Gypsy. This is not just so in the case of housing but housing appears to be one of those areas where it is very much pronounced.

No one wants to have a Gypsy Site anywhere in a locality and this regardless as to whether this is a government site or a private Gypsy development.

In the latter case the things look even worse. Very rare, if ever, will Gypsies get the permission to create their own sites or settlements – as they would like to have them – on their own land; on land that they have bought fairly and squarely.

More often than not the excuse for not granting planning rights given is “green belt land” and such.

However, often, as soon as the land is sold, say, by the Gypsy owners to someone else, planning permission is granted for the building of housing units for profit.

We have seen this more than just a few times by now.

In other cases the lands was taken off the Gypsy owners by the municipalities, were a little more revamped and then the original Gypsy owners of the land were told they could rent plots on this now official Gypsy Site.

While Gypsies owned the land it could not possibly become a Gypsy-owned and -run Caravan Site or Gypsy settlement but as soon as the councils took over such properties, with the hard-standings in place and all that, laid by the Gypsies, it could be turned into an official government Gypsy Caravan Site. Suddenly there was no longer a problem with “agricultural ties” or “green belt land”.

Similar things also happen when Gypsies try to move into houses even, especially when they try too live in extended family. They are being hounded by the locals who make all manner of claims, including the one that having Gypsies live nearby reduces the values of heir homes.

This is something that is found in many countries of Europe but Britain, I think, tops the list in this league. While one might have thought different as there does not appear to be so much anti-Gypsyism in Britain, being a country that appear to value the freedom of people, this same freedom does not, however, extend to the Gyppo, and never has.

While hate crimes and racial discrimination against any other group will immediately be dealt with the the authorities, when it comes to us, the Rom, the answer always is that nothing can be done for this or that clause and such. One law and rule everyone else and one discriminatory one for the Gyppo and always applied against him.

Time for a change!

© M Smith (Veshengro), February 2009