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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.
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.
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.