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Birmingham Post Comment: Gipsy camp woe.

Government attempts to regulate gipsy camp provision by local authorities have proved disastrous.

In the first place, pressure was placed on councils to identify and develop sites for permanent encampments. But this proved difficult or impossible with almost every conceivable location across the West Midlands provoking protests from people living nearby.

Faced by unfolding public fury, and examples of many councils simply ignoring their responsibilities, the Government fudged the issue and decided that local authorities should no longer be required to find sites. If Ministers thought the problem would go away, they were wrong. Gipsy communities are increasingly taking matters into their own hands, as the occupation of a greenfield site at Pershore demonstrates.

It is no coincidence that a settlement established in similar circumstances a few miles away at Wyre Piddle is to be the subject of a public inquiry, for gipsy leaders have shown that they are as prepared as any other developer to fight their case at law.

It is high time, given the unplanned sprawl of encampments in entirely inappropriate rural locations, that the Government's attitude to travellers was revised.
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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 2, 2004
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