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Traveller sites

(70 Posts)
Fairydoll2030 Sun 15-Jan-17 21:03:59

A relative lives in a very nice, expensive area of our town. The local council are going ahead with plans (in fact they have brought them forward three years) to build a huge number of affordable accommodation in addition to a Traveller site on green belt land that abuts their estate and use the access road to the estate, which is currently a no through road, to accommodate all the additional traffic. Local properties fetched up to several hundred thousand pounds. Now prices are dropping rapidly. No one is surprised. Protestors are accused of belonging to the NIMBY (not in my back yard brigade). And who can blame them!!
On looking at a Question and Answer on Gypsies and Travellers page on the local councils website I note that, according to the author, Travellers work in a variety of professions including Teaching and healthcare . Some, apparently are 'academics' and some work in the building and landscaping trades (we know that, don't we?).

So, out of interest, are there any Traveller grans on Gransnet who are academics or teachers, or this this just the local council bullshitting spinning a line in order to minimise the protests?

Anniebach Wed 18-Jan-17 17:04:57

When I have a cuppa in a gypsy caravan and come back to my home I feel a house slut

How lovely it is to read the posts written with knowledge and understanding

Luckygirl Wed 18-Jan-17 15:53:09

The central problem is that their way of life has been cut off. They used to be welcome visitors and worked hard at seasonal jobs. Now those jobs are being taken by others (ironically these new workers are housed in caravan sites on the farmer's land. The political situation with provision of sites has unravelled leaving many Travellers with nowhere to go, except to go into housing. They spend their lives being moved on.

Sunseeker - the reluctance to use some sites is often because one type of Traveller is already there and there is antagonism between the two.

It is a problem, I acknowledge that, and sometimes the Travellers appear to be their own worst enemy by being reluctant to engage with the authorities who might be able to help them.

One thing that many do not realise is how house proud Travellers are - the saying that you could eat your meal off the floor is generally true of their trailers - everything is spotless. They also have their own customs - I worked with a Traveller woman and she was horrified that we did not all have our specific mugs, but simply washed them and shared them. Travellers are also reluctant to have anyone other than family use their toilet facilities on the grounds of cleanliness. I am a right slut in comparison!

If we were accustomed from birth (and from generations back) to living in houses, how might we feel if we were forced to live in trailers against our wishes and our heritage. T

he great outdoors is what Travellers value and the freedom to move around. They have a great sense of family and getting together in large numbers for weddings, funerals etc. is part of their heritage rather than attempt to irritate the settled community!

The cry that they do not pay taxes is one I heard over and over again - I am sure there are some who do not (just as there are in the settled community - often aided and abetted by canny lawyers and accountants) but most of the Travellers I met were playing their part in paying towards the country, just as most of us do.

sunseeker Wed 18-Jan-17 10:19:17

I agree there are good and bad in all communities but wonder if the antagonism towards some travellers is the result of their camping on private land when there are traveller sites available. We had this problem a little while ago when many travellers turned up and camped on an open space which was regularly used by the local community - they wouldn't use the traveller site because they didn't want to pay the fee.

Iam64 Wed 18-Jan-17 09:47:13

I notice the OP hasn't been back other than to ask for clarity about the difference between various Irish traveller groups.
To link the issue of "affordable housing" with the concerns many people might feel about a traveller site says a lot imo. I'm not objecting to traveller sites, just acknowledging the fact that the minority of travellers get the majority a bad name by leaving piles of rubbish in their wake. Affordable housing in the south east and the rest of the country is essential.

Anniebach Wed 18-Jan-17 08:58:03

Mrs Bucket wouldn't agree with you ladies.

NfkDumpling Wed 18-Jan-17 07:44:49

Agree Lucky. Not just good and bad but very diverse communities. Old style Romany or New Age Traveller, they all tend to get lumped together under the same heading. A council may provide a small site and then cannot understand why one group moves off when another arrives or one group refuses to use the site because a different group is already resident.

'Our' gypsies stood with us a waved placards with us when the council wanted to put a second temporary site next to theirs, ('temporary' as in non-residential and aimed at housing a group being ousted from their own land in Suffolk - they didn't want to come!). They stopped the site being built and its now a rather nice small housing estate.

Luckygirl Tue 17-Jan-17 13:19:28

Ref. previous post - I think that these examples go to show that Travellers are good and bad, just like settled people.

Luckygirl Tue 17-Jan-17 13:18:42

Can I suggest that people follow my link to the Travellers' Times? YOu will see there the positive achievements of Travellers, often in the face of ignorant prejudice.

I do not think that anyone is saying that the Traveller culture is not flawed from the pov of most settled people; there are attitudes within the community that often cause a clash. But I do think that if people are not breaking the law or abusing others then they do have the right to pursue their own cultural norms, even if they are not ours.

Travellers are diverse (as has been said several times here) and their needs are different. They are very often wary of settled people because they have endured a great deal of persecution over many generations, so they can appear distant and unwelcoming.

I have had bad experiences (having to "talk down" a young man with a shotgun who was wanting to leave the trailer to deal with a man arguing outside with his father)and many many wonderful uplifting times with brave positive family-oriented proud people. There is one family in particular who devote their lives to supporting various charities.

Incidentally they are in the main very religious, whether Catholic (Romanies and Irish Travellers) or members of the very popular gypsy church which has gained many recruits in the last decade.

They are at odds with the settled community at times because they function in a different way, financial deals being based on a shake of the hand rather than a contract, and wealth being stored as gold rather than in a bank account.

One Traveller I knew was a highly successful antiques dealer and was once stopped on the road on his way to Stowe Fair and his van searched by the police. They found a van full of priceless antiques. The man produced receipts from Sothebys which the police did not believe were genuine and they phoned Sothebys, who informed them that this man was a valued customer and was even one of the few to whom they were happy to give credit as he never let them down!

Anniebach Tue 17-Jan-17 09:56:47

Had to post this, so funny but not funny. Just been told two farmers been charged by police, seems one has a well on his land and next door farm has been draining off water without permission, they had a scrape on the main road and got arrested by police who were doing checks on farms because of stolen machinery grin

Anniebach Tue 17-Jan-17 09:42:48

Well said Iam and Anya,

Anya Tue 17-Jan-17 09:26:47

But, many local authority are failing in their duty to provide traveller sites and that needs to be tackled. I think the OP's post was about that.

Where we lived previously there was an excellent site, a good way out of town and that worked well. It was a bit daunting visiting it initially - big dogs - but once I was known I was welcomed and always offered a hot drink. Where we live now the council is trying to set up a site but everywhere there is local protest.

Anya Tue 17-Jan-17 09:20:25

I agree with you Iam - there's no point in pretending that all the travelling communities are the same. Some deserve the reputation they have, but there are many others who don't.

When I broke down on a duel-carriageway it was a van-load of travellers who stopped, pushed my car onto the cycle path and got me going again.

Iam64 Tue 17-Jan-17 09:13:12

sorry for using such judgemental words, 'crooks and vagabonds' but it seemed correct given some of the judgemental and ill informed comments here.

Anya Tue 17-Jan-17 09:05:56

Yes Iam64 my last post also crossed with yours. I'm pointing out also that there are 'crooks and vagabonds' in all societies, and they're the ones we notice or read about.

Anya Tue 17-Jan-17 09:02:59

There are, of course, among some travelling groups, those who move in, move on and leave a mess behind. These give the others a bad game.

And there is also those who do steal. We had a brand new New Zealand rug stolen off a horse's back once. But when I approached their leader, he made the culprits give it back.

Iam64 Tue 17-Jan-17 08:58:02

whoops, I x posted with Annie and Anya - again

Iam64 Tue 17-Jan-17 08:56:01

I thought it was too good to last, a discussion about gypsies, travellers that was balanced and positive.
All communities have crooks and vagabonds, including the wealthy and privileged. At around the same time that the channel 4 My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding series was on, a similar series about the Jewish community in a suburb of Manchester was on (I think ITV)
It was very entertaining but friends who live in that community pointed out that only the attention seeking/celeb lifestyle seeking community members would agree to be filmed. The same with the traveller community. Anyone who thinks the tv show reflected traveller communities fairly or accurately is wrong.

Anya Tue 17-Jan-17 08:54:19

I agree Annie it is quite obvious that SAAK's understanding of gypsy culture is somewhat lacking. And yes, most of them prefer the term 'gypsy'. It is in fact quite matriarchal. Young girls are protected, and while they may be expected to marry their 'own kind' and at a relatively young age, there is a culture of respect for women.

Re schooling. The reason there was a teacher with rsponsbility for 'Gypsy & Travelling Children' was to encourage school attendance. There is no way attendance could be enforced, it was more a case of working with those lesders in their community to try to encourage regular attendance, especially in teenage girls.

Anniebach Tue 17-Jan-17 08:52:12

I haven't heard of linking to another water mains, linking to other people's electricity supply is something which has been done by people in this country for many a long year , and not even from relatives but next door neighbours

NfkDumpling Mon 16-Jan-17 22:37:38

I liked living in a community which included integrated gypsies. It meant that keeping a pony in the back garden(as we did) was quite normal!

NfkDumpling Mon 16-Jan-17 22:33:57

One of the settled gypsy families lived behind us. In a very large immaculate house on a very large plot. He built a bungalow in the garden for his mum which she refused to live in and stayed in her caravan in the garden to the end of her days. A good thing really as it was built without planning permission - he claimed it was a dog kennel! They were lovely people (he did a lot to support the local football teams) but was inclined to ignore the rules the rest of us play by. The house wasn't apparently on the mains but it later transpired it was linked through a nearby bngalow owned by his aunt!

Fairydoll2030 Mon 16-Jan-17 22:21:27

The Travellers in our area are of Irish descent. People refer to them as. 'Gypos' but, as far as I'm aware, Gypsies are of Romany origin, their culture is different and they have little in common with Irish Travellers.

Please correct me if I'm wrong

Anniebach Mon 16-Jan-17 22:19:09

I agree Luckygirl, but channel 5 is guilty of this as it is on benefit cheats, very Sun newspaper in my opinion

Luckygirl Mon 16-Jan-17 22:13:03

I think it is important that people do not base their judgements on the media - programmes about Traveller culture are unlikely to focus on the positives and will look for things that are "newsworthy" - viz the programme about weddings.

According to the media, all Muslims are terrorists.

Anniebach Mon 16-Jan-17 22:05:54

Your knowledge of gypsy culture is very narrow. You assume all women want your life style, they do not. There are women who are content within their own cultures . I wouldn't put a child in s frilly dress but do not condemn mothers who do.