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  • Gypsy site meeting 5pm: November 18, 2007
  • Travellers site meeting: December 07, 2007
  • Gypsy site meeting: January 18, 2008

Author Topic: Local traveller and gypsy sites  (Read 179752 times)

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Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2007, 10:35:41 am »
Friday 7th December 2007 starting at 5.30 pm in NM Youth & Community Centre, Station Road, Welham Green (next to the Catholic church)

Our MP Grant Shapps has arranged a public meeting regarding the proposed gypsy and travellers site on Bulls Lane, Bell Bar.  This subject has been discussed on this Forum and this meeting will be your chance to hear the latest information and discuss what you can do.

For info contact Bob Horrocks via this Forum.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2007, 10:37:14 am by Bob Horrocks »
 

Offline francis

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2007, 05:24:21 pm »
its increasingly fascinating as to the seemingly ever-increasing amounts of "needs" which apparently can ONLY be met by building in the green belt.    and the upcoming review of The Green Belt will make it easier ?  and easier ?    worrying !
 

Offline stevea

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2007, 11:22:45 pm »
Out of interest, has a representative from The Gypsy Council of GB been invited to the meeting?
 

Offline Peter Hastings

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2007, 08:00:58 am »
Good point stevea. information from the existing sites near us would be helpful too.
 

Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2007, 11:44:03 am »
I will pass on to Grant Shapps the suggestion of having someone at the meeting to speak on behalf of the gypsies and travellers.  Thanks Stevea for the thought.

The Parish Council is about to send a letter to Welwyn Hatfield Council expressing severe misgivings as to the suitability of this site, and giving reasons for that viewpoint.

Offline Peter Hastings

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #35 on: November 15, 2007, 05:24:38 pm »
I think it is worth adding Bob that the Council also has misgivings over the quality of the report recommending this site and indeed I on a personal level wonder what the terms of reference were and how they came to be instructed.
 

Offline Birch

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Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #37 on: November 27, 2007, 12:34:02 pm »
Grant Shapps MP has had to postpone his public meeting on 7th December 2007 about this proposal.  Because of the Welham Green local by-election on 3rd January 2008, he wants to have full representation by all Welham Green councillors.

A new date has been arranged at 5pm on Friday 18th January 2008 at the NM Youth and Community Centre, Station Road (behind the Catholic Church).  All are very welcome.

Further info available from Bob Horrocks - see email and IM links at the side of this posting.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2007, 12:36:35 pm by Bob Horrocks »
 

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2008, 05:40:52 pm »
Local residents are invited to a public meeting later this month to discuss plans to provide 17 pitches in the borough for travellers. The public meeting will be held at the North Mymms Youth and Community Centre on Friday 18 January at 5pm. Local MP, Grant Shapps, will be on hand to hear concerns. Click here for more details.

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Offline stevea

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #39 on: January 07, 2008, 07:30:07 am »
Just wondered if anybody knows - are any gypsies going to this meeting? When I last spoke to a gypsy friend he knew nothing about the proposed site on Bulls Lane. I was quite surprised as most gypsies know everything that goes on amongst themselves in a 50mile radius!
 

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #40 on: January 07, 2008, 08:45:06 am »
Just wondered if anybody knows - are any gypsies going to this meeting? When I last spoke to a gypsy friend he knew nothing about the proposed site on Bulls Lane. I was quite surprised as most gypsies know everything that goes on amongst themselves in a 50mile radius!

Good point, Steve, will your friend pass the word around? 

There are a number of sites that represent travellers, including...


... I've let them know.

David

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Offline stevea

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #41 on: January 08, 2008, 03:47:31 am »
I've left a message but no response as yet. Will keep you updated.  To be honest, I  can't see any gypsies turning up at the meeting.  The problem being is that such proposed sites are all over the country and it's such a long winded process that many ignore these proposals because they rarely eventuate. If the authorities said to a particular group of gypsies that this is the site that we will build for you and your families it would probably be worth fighting for.  As there are many types of gypsies e.g Irish, English etc it is of no use to specify a proposed site without stating what particular group of gypsies the site would be for. For example, the gypsy site on Barnet Road, Potters Bar was fought for by a friend of mine for years. When the site was eventually approved, a different group of gypsies was allocated the site. It caused terrible problems.  I can't help feeling that these proposed sites are a part of political correctness knowing full well that many of these sites will not go ahead.
 

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #42 on: January 19, 2008, 02:33:02 pm »
Bob Horrocks has submitted a report about the public meeting, called to discuss the proposals for the travellers site on Bulls Lane. Click here for more.
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Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #43 on: January 19, 2008, 05:51:01 pm »
In drafting the report I omitted to mention that Grant Shapps, your Welwyn Hatfield councillors and your North Mymms Parish councillors will be happy to try and answer any queries you may have on this subject.

Also at the meeting there were some copies of 'Freqently Asked Questions about gypsies and travellers'.  You can read it on this link    http://www.welhat.gov.uk/planning/dnld_200074/GAndT_FAQs.pdf

Offline stevea

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #44 on: January 20, 2008, 02:52:38 am »
If I'm correct and this land is owned by White's Estates - does this mean that White's Estates are thinking of leasing or selling this land to the council? If I'm not correct, who owns this piece of land and do we know the reason why this particular piece of land was suggested in the first place.

Also, out of interest, were there any gypsies at the meeting or any representative?

If truth be told, I would not want a gypsy site on my doorstep, however, I have some very close gypsy friends that are very nice and genuine people.
 

Offline Peter Hastings

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #45 on: January 20, 2008, 02:59:20 pm »
As I understood what was said, the council can only identify land that would be ok to build such a site on. If the traveller community then want to buy it and make the site or not is up to them.

My personal view and judging largely by what Grant said, properly managed and sited traveller sites work fine, as you say the people are no problem. The problem here is the expert consultants have basically produced a fairly weak piece of work, recommending a site where noone with any local knowledge would have put it.
 

Offline stevea

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #46 on: January 20, 2008, 09:42:41 pm »
Can someone please tell me how the council can identify a piece of land suitable to build a gypsy site on, if the land is private property?    Don't they have to liaise with the property owners to see if they are interested in selling before even suggesting a proposal? Isn't this illegal? All it's doing otherwise is upsetting people in the area.
None of this really makes sense to me. Can anyone enlighten me further? Surely you just can't wander around the countryside saying that bit there will do. :icon_scratch:
 

Offline Peter Hastings

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #47 on: January 21, 2008, 08:28:00 am »
The council is being asked to plan how such a site could be built, in the same way that they may be asked to arrange the building of 10k new homes. They identify the sites, others buy them, get the planning and do the building, not the council.

the decision on this is years away and as you can see we are a long long way from having a travellers site round the corner.
 

Offline stevea

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #48 on: January 21, 2008, 09:13:56 am »
Sounds like bureaucracy gone mad. What's the point of causing anguish on both sides of the coin - residents and gypsies.   I still query why this particular piece of land was identified and how and why it fits the criteria. I suspect it doesn't and that's why it was chosen.   ???
 

Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2008, 10:55:12 am »
Peter Hastings is quite right.

Blame the planning system, not the council.  The Welwyn Hatfield District Plan must identify sufficient potential sites to 'prove' that it is possible to produce the number of new dwellings required by Central Government in the period covered by the plan.  The list includes 'Claregate' on the A1000 next to Christ Church, Little Heath.  It is in the current and previous plans but who knows when it might get developed?  Not me.

Consultants were employed by the council because the council does not have planners available to carry out this on-off task of identifying potential sites for gypsies and travellers.  The fact is that they had to recommend sufficient land to accommodate the 17 pitches required by the East of England Regional Assembly.  In their opinion this was the only land that came near meeting the criteria, but they acknowledged that it was not ideal.   Cllr Stephen Boulton clearly stated at the meeting that this was not a 'done deal' and that the Council did not accept the recommendation since the site did not seem to meet the criteria.

The report said the consultants contacted all land owners.   In the case of this Bulls Lane land, it is owned by Whites Estates as a residue from when they were one of the main developers of Brookmans Park. 

The farmer who has leased the land for nearly 40 years spoke to me at the meeting.  He said the first he knew of this possible site was when he read the report in the WH Times.  Any decent landlord would have spoken to him before that.  If the worst comes to the worst and this site is chosen, any deal would be subject to this farmer's lease.  Could be a huge legal stumbling block.   :'(

Offline stevea

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #50 on: January 21, 2008, 11:33:46 am »
Thanks for making it clearer Bob.  Seems such a waste of time, money and anguish. It's a shame that the pin isn't pulled on this now.   As I said in my previous post, these sites rarely eventuate. I think this one will be a classic example.
 

Offline Peter Hastings

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #51 on: January 21, 2008, 12:39:05 pm »
The real lesson from the meeting was dont let yourself become chief planning officer! You dont want to be in Chris Conway's shoes.

Not only does the council HAVE to go through this process but as I understand it, they have not been allowed to finish their own district plan so they are or will be wide open in future when people dont like individual decisions.

Furthermore, the requirement for pitches is to 2011, there will be a continuing requirement thereafter to 2021 but no-one knows what it is yet. Even when we get to the end of this muddle, we wont really be at the end!

this is a real education in how major planning is carried out and it doesnt seem all that impressive and certainly not efficient.

(One small point, I think Stephen Boulton said the council planning commitee had noted but not considered the Scott Wilson report.) Either way, it hasnt been approved by any means. I wonder how much it cost and what the terms of reference were. I cant help feeling we are in danger of creating paper just for the sake of it-it certainly hasnt helped the decision making process.)
 

Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #52 on: January 22, 2008, 05:53:39 pm »
Welwyn Hatfield Council have accepted i.e. formally acknowledged receipt of the consultants report.  BUT they said it was accepted for information ONLY since the council did not necessarily agree with its recommendations.

Sometime later this year the council expects to consult the public at which time residents can formally make known their views on the suitability of the Bulls Lane site.

Incidentally, I underestimated the number of people at the meeting.  The organisers recorded about 200 names of those attending.  Not bad for a meeting at 5pm  on a Friday evening.  Had it been later in the evening I think the Albert Hall would have been needed.

To enlarge on Peter's second paragraph, one of the points Chris Conway was making related to the current District Plan and its replacement.  The current Plan is for the period to 2011.  There will be a major problem if the update (Local Development Framework) is not adopted by 2011.  There will be a period when there are no official planning policies against which new planning applications can be assessed.  Unscrupulous developers will try to exploit that gap by trying to get approvals on Green Belt land etc.  that would not normally be permitted.

Offline stevea

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #53 on: January 24, 2008, 06:54:55 am »
This is all coming across a bit cowboyish to me.  I wouldn't want them running my business! Perhaps we should change the topic from Travellers Site Meeting to Gun Smoke on Bulls Lane or Bonanza! Think I'll saddle up and go west!  ;D
 

Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #54 on: January 24, 2008, 11:39:31 am »
Someone phoned me on the day of the meeting to ask if it had been cancelled.  I was able to tell her it was still being held.  I have now learned of another person who would have gone except she had also been told it was cancelled.

Can anyone shed light on how this rumour started? 

It did not stop people attending because about 200 turned up.

Offline stevea

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #55 on: January 25, 2008, 04:19:11 am »
Rumour has it, it was Jesse James and his brother, Frank!
 

Offline stevea

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #56 on: January 25, 2008, 11:00:11 am »
Bob. Has anyone looked at the terms and conditions of the farmers lease? It would be interesting to know when the lease is up for renewal/expires. 
 

Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #57 on: January 25, 2008, 03:28:44 pm »
The lease is being checked very carefully since it is of great interest to Welwyn Hatfield Council.  Apparently it is an Agricultural Lease given to a limited company. It is thought to be indefinite as long as the company exists.

If this is correct it will affect the availability of this land for a travellers site.

Offline sasquartch

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #58 on: January 25, 2008, 04:55:56 pm »
So if some locals got together and bought or leased the land...then the camp couldn't go ahead.

Not too much different to what was done to save Gobions from development.
 

Offline stevea

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Re: Local traveller and gypsy sites
« Reply #59 on: January 26, 2008, 04:12:24 am »
So basically, what has been proposed is technically illegal.

I'm not a lawyer, but if this went to court it would be pulled apart.  If this was the US, the farmer would sue, and he would win!

How can consultants recommend land that is under a legally bound lease? Surely the consultants were given more information than just to identify a piece of land. Did they not have criteria to follow? If the council have a legal team that vets proposed contracts and proposals, why wasn't this particular site squashed immediately? What's the point of acknowledging receipt of a proposal knowing full well that it won't eventuate? Is it just to play the game?

Instead of placing various authorities under pressure, the powers that be who designated the travellers site idea in the first place, should really take a good, hard look at what they are designating and stop playing at political correctness.

This just proves what I have been saying all along in my previous posts. The whole process is a shambles and has just caused angst for the community. What a waste of time and tax payers money. It's a bureaucratic bungle and I bet it's happening in other areas as well.

I wonder where the gypsies fit in to all this mess.
 

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