I read a document the other day that was published by our County Council and was written, in part, to explain the need for the Council to provide pitches for Travelling people.
Our site was singled out as a shining example of same. In it we were described as ‘well behaved’ and although a mixed site, ‘well integrated’. The document explained how, when the site was re-opened after refurbishment, plots were filled gradually, to allow the new residents to acclimatize to one another and their new surroundings.
Does it sound to you like they had the Zoology Department in charge of operations? I rather think it does. Imagine if you will, dear reader, how you would feel , were you to be patronized as…. ‘well behaved’ and were released into your new compound in carefully controlled stages. They invited the local press to come and see what a Gypsy Site was really like and the reporter was ‘amazed at how quiet it was and how little rubbish there was strewn around’. That little backhander was actually published in the local Gazette. It was meant to be a compliment and a positive take on allowing Gypsies in your back yard.
We are allotted a fenced square of tarmac and two out-houses which are cold, wet and lamentably small. At the front of each plot is a clipped lawn, which we aren’t allowed to use. So although it is indeed, quiet, picturesque and a shining example of Gypsies in captivity, not that much on the comfort. Bit like a zoo. They should charge admission.
Of course, we weren’t expected to be able even to find the document on the internet… let alone read it. Ergo, I suppose, considering whether or not it was acceptable to speak of us as a different species, was deemed unnecessary.
As a footnote: 5 years or so since that document was published, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent investigating possible sites for new pitches. Every single proposed site has been nimby’d out and they are back to square one.
Shining example indeed.