We hear this week that Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has finally made his decision in respect of Leeds City Council’s application to extend the Cottingley Springs local authority Gypsy and Traveller site on Geldard Road, Leeds. He has refused the application.
This news is not surprising. From the outset of Leeds City Council’s proposal, it was clear that asking the Secretary of State to pass an application for extension into the greenbelt, albeit that the application came from the local authority not a private family, presented Mr Pickles with a significant challenge to his erroneous ‘protect the greenbelt’ political narrative. According to the latest statistics, building on the greenbelt is actually fine by Mr Pickles, so long as you are not a Gypsy. Read more
I don’t know how many shopping days it is until Christmas but I do know that there are fewer than 60 campaigning days before the next elections. In less than two months, the UK will decide both who the next Government will be and, just as important day to day, who runs their local Council. The politicians have certainly picked up the pace, setting out their stall for why we should vote for them. Leeds GATE has in return been progressing with our project to raise awareness, both of our members in politics and of politicians in Gypsy and Traveller issues.
As we at GATE have often criticised, Gypsy and Travellers rarely appear to be considered as part of the electorate by much of the political class. Our members are at best forgotten, and at worst, used as a hobby-horse to promote a populist agenda of some form. So far this year little seems to have changed but alongside others we are working to reverse this trend. Read more
We are very proud and pleased to present the results of our advocacy service review. This was a completely independent study carried out by Andy Bagley of Real Improvement, an expert consultant with many years of experience assessing and advising charities and companies. We were therefore delighted to receive such a positive final report, which you can read here Advocacy report_Feb15
I just hopped on the train back to London with a spring in my step. This was due to the unambiguously positive experience of the Parliamentary Briefing conference I had just come from, discussing Gypsy and Traveller accommodation provision. Not only did I feel that my own presentation, on how to do effective Accommodation Needs Assessments, was taken on board by those attending but that all the other five (excellent) speakers were listened to with great interest.