Playing politics with travellers' lives? Council delays to gypsy site blueprint

Playing politics with traveller's lives? Council delays to gypsy site blueprint

Playing politics with traveller's lives? Council delays to gypsy site blueprint

First published in News Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy editor

Kingston Council has been accused of "playing politics with traveller's lives" over delays to deciding how many sites it should provide.

The calls came from the Gypsy Council amid suspicions that a new traveller site was being prepared in Chessington without planning permission.

Hardcore and rubble have been laid across the field opposite Chessington Garden Centre in Leatherhead Road.

Kingston Council leader Kevin Davis believed could be the beginnning of a hardstanding for caravans.

Coun Davis said: "The worry is that someone is going to turn it into a permanent traveller site."

A Kingston Council spokesman said: "The council is aware of the rubble and is tracing the owner of the land.

"The council can take enforcement action if necessary."

Kingston Council has been working on a development plan looking at future need for the travelling community for the past two years.

Research into possible pitch provision was carried out between January and September 2012.

But according to the council's website, there have been delays in the production of the document.

Gypsy Council spokesman Joseph Jones said: "The Government has said that gypsy sites should be provided just like everything else.

"You plan where the sites are supposed to go as part of the local development framework.

"But when local authorities don't do that, it becomes pretty hard for people to complain if gypsies and travellers do it for themselves.

"The traveller community has a slightly higher birth rate than the non-traveller community, but it seems the number of pitches being provided by councils is getting less, not more.

"It's people playing politics with other people's lives, and then complaining when those people try to do something for themselves."

A council spokesman said the development plan was still being produced and would be discussed with the new Conservative adminstration. Kingston Council currently runs one traveller site - Swallow Park in Hook Rise North, Tolworth.

There is also a site at Clayton Road in Chessington, built more than 10 years ago by travellers on land they owned.

In 2010, London Mayor Boris Johnson recommended 15 extra pitches for Kingston, but later reduced the number to three.

In 2012, a group of travellers drove onto Fairfield recreation ground through a gap in the fence and stayed for eight days before moving onto Fishponds park in Surbiton. The incursion cost the council £48,544.

And last year, the council spent £10,590 in the aftermath of travellers settling in on Manor Park in New Malden.

Last month, the council secured all its open spaces after travellers pitched up on private land in Kingston, New Malden and Tesco's Tolworth site.

A group of travellers spent last weekend on public land in Jubilee Way in Chessington, but have since been moved on.

Comments (4)

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11:39am Thu 17 Jul 14

Hove Ex-Pat says...

Of course it could be said that the council are showing the travellers the same respect that the travellers show to the council, & residents, of this & every borough.
Of course it could be said that the council are showing the travellers the same respect that the travellers show to the council, & residents, of this & every borough. Hove Ex-Pat
  • Score: 1

1:30pm Thu 17 Jul 14

jswan1 says...

No more gypsy or traveller sites please. Thank you.
No more gypsy or traveller sites please. Thank you. jswan1
  • Score: 4

7:00pm Thu 17 Jul 14

pinky107 says...

no sites should be built , theyre supposed to be travellers so why would they need a place to settle . when they start paying taxes and treat places with respect then they might get resp[ect back , until then they can bugger off else where .
no sites should be built , theyre supposed to be travellers so why would they need a place to settle . when they start paying taxes and treat places with respect then they might get resp[ect back , until then they can bugger off else where . pinky107
  • Score: 2

7:15pm Thu 17 Jul 14

ticktock says...

Epsom kiln lane has only two family's living on that site ,
Epsom kiln lane has only two family's living on that site , ticktock
  • Score: 3

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