Working to improve the quality of life for Gypsies and Travellers

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Minister Brandon Lewis to force Gypsy/Traveller families to ‘travel permanently’

Helen Jones By | August 31st, 2015 | General News, Leeds GATE Blog

We hear today (31st August) via the Daily Mail of course, that Gypsies and Travellers will now have to prove they are ‘permanently travelling’ in order to qualify as ‘travellers’ for the purposes of planning law.  Its not a surprise, Eric Pickles and Brandon Lewis tried to bring in this policy in the dying days of the coalition.  It was stopped theroadsiden at the final moment by a Liberal MP who actually read what the Association of Chief Police Officers had to say on the matter.  Like ourselves and many others ACPO were against the idea on the basis that it will cause them a policing nightmare to have to deal with so many families having to take ‘permanently’ to the roadsides just in order to be able to continue living in caravans.  By this new definition many of the people living on Gypsy and Traveller sites across the country wont technically qualify to be there because they don’t travel permanently (the new guidance is rather vague about what is actually permanent but hint at at least a couple of months of the year being mobile).

So what will happen? 

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Volunteering at Leeds GATE

Helen Jones By | August 26th, 2015 | Friends of GATE, GATE news

Ben and Elton

If you would like to know more about volunteering at Leeds GATE?  You can get in touch here.

We want to say a really big thank you to our outgoing volunteer Elton Muchemwa.  Elton has been with us since the start of the year supporting our front-line advocacy service a couple of days a week.  Not only did he provide a very useful extra pair of hands and some great knowledge, particularly about housing, but his approach to everything was fantastic.  Staff and members alike commented on how approachable and considerate Elton was throughout his time here.  We will miss the contribution he made each week and wish him all the best in his new role.

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Winners and losers in the English Planning system

Ben Chastney By | August 25th, 2015 | General News

The Planning Inspector visits a site application location in Hunslet, Leeds. The application was refused.

Our colleagues at Traveller Movement have just released some figures, gleaned from the Department of Communities and Local Government, about the success or otherwise of planning applications for Gypsy and Traveller sites.
The figures make for interesting, if disappointing, reading.  The data confirms what many of us had already suspected; that Gypsy and Traveller applications face a disproportionately tougher time in the planning process.  The complete data set from DCLG can be found here; and the report from Traveller Movement here. 

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Negotiation is better than litigation for Gypsy/Traveller camps

Ben Chastney By | August 24th, 2015 | General News

roadside camp As was reported this week in the YEP there was a recent encampment down on Holbeck Moor. This has just moved on but I would like to provide a brief response to the article and comment on the wider approach taken towards roadside camps.

Firstly, it is worth reflecting on how long it has been since we have read an article like this. A few years back it was difficult to go many weeks, particularly over summer months, without reports, usually very negative, of another encampment. Put aside debate over the style and tone of such articles, it is a positive that there has been less about ‘problem’ camps in the Leeds area, largely perhaps because there have been fewer deemed ‘newsworthy’.

I would suggest that this reality, of a notable drop in roadside camps, and certainly those that attract interest, is down in part to the success of a more pragmatic approach.

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