Churches Network for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma
Dominic Raab MP
House of Commons
London, SW1A 0AA
Consultation: Powers for dealing with unauthorised development and encampments
Dear Mr Raab,
Yet again, a there seem to be proposals underway to make life ever more difficult for Gypsies and Travellers, and yet again, the consultation is entirely negative in terms of the impact it is having on community relations and the well-being of the Gypsy and Traveller communities.
We deplore the fact that the consultation is couched in such negative terms - “dealing with” is a term ill-suited to the need to tackle problems which successive Conservative Governments have created for some of the most vulnerable people in our country.
Churches Network for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma strongly suggests that the questions which needs to be asked are:
What aspects of current policy are creating conditions which impel people to continue travelling and to occupy unauthorised sites? (1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act and 2015 Planning policy guidance for Traveller sites to name but two)
How could Gypsies and Travellers who wish to settle on designated sites be assisted to do so?
What mixture of publicly provided and private sites do we need and how do we achieve this?
What good practice is there which enables local authorities to create safe and harmonious conditions for travelling families and local communities? (Negotiated stopping, for example)
How can the enormous prejudice which compromises the health, education and welfare of Gypsy and Traveller families be addressed?
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require clarification of any of the points made above. We are a national network of ordained and lay Christians from a variety of different denominations, committed to aiding understanding and acceptance of Gypsies, Travellers and Roma.