Barrow Town hall tells of traveller plans as guidelines come under attack
Last updated at 12:17, Saturday, 10 August 2013
NEW guidelines for tackling illegal campsites have come under fire for targeting ethnic minorities.
The government has issued council leaders with a summary of powers they have for dealing with unwanted campsites.
The guidance came as Barrow Borough Council announced it was taking legal action to evict a group of travellers from Walney, after they set up camp along Biggar Bank Road.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles has been accused of sparking an “open season on ethnic minorities” after saying councils must act more quickly to shut down unauthorised encampments.
Streetcare manager at Barrow Borough Council, Alan Barker, said the six Cumbrian authorities are drawing up county-wide plans to tackle the problem.
He said: “We are putting a protocol together so that the treatment of travellers will be uniform throughout the county. We don’t have a serious problem with travellers but, with Barrow being a smaller place, they are more noticeable when they do arrive.”
The guidance from the Department of Communities and Local Government outlines the legal powers councils and landowners have to remove unauthorised traveller sites, protest camps and squatters from both public and private land, as well as tackling the mess caused by the sites.
Joseph Jones, chairman of the Gypsy Council, criticised the government’s actions.
He said: “It’s creating tension – it’s a negative thing to do. It seems like open season on ethnic minorities.”
The travellers on Walney attracted criticism after the council announced it had cleared more than a tonne of rubbish from the site. Last month, GlaxoSmithKline went to court to have a group of travellers evicted from its land in Ulverston.
Mr Pickles denied the powers were an attack on the traveller community and said £60m was being made available to local authorities for new legal sites.
He said: “We’ve strengthened councils’ powers so they have the confidence to take decisive action.”
First published at 12:03, Saturday, 10 August 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
They arrive, create loads of mess which I end up paying towards cleanup via my council tax, don't contribute in any way to the local amenities. Create trouble (from reports of police attendance in the nwem), cost the council legal fees to get them to move on. Do they provide any benefit to the local community?
Thank goodness for Eric Pickles and his strong stance on this issue.