UK: Gipsies can ignore green belt laws: their human rights upheld above local residents
Where can I sign up? These non tax-paying crime parasites have more rights than the legitimate tax paying land owners do. Not only that, they get preference for school entry and must be helped immediately at any health facility, ahead of the local people.
Gipsies’ human rights are more important than the concerns of local residents, according to new planning rules.
Guidelines made public yesterday mean planning inspectors will favour letting them set up sites and stay on existing ones, while complaints will be largely ignored.
Travellers will even be allowed to build sites in the countryside, on legally protected land and on the green belt.
Gipsies need caravan sites, the rules said, because many suffer ‘aversion to bricks and mortar’ and ‘the sense of enclosure can be distressing to people who have been used to outdoor living’.
They qualify for special favours under human rights and race relations law, meaning the fears of those who worry that a traveller site will bring an increase in crime should be given ‘little weight’.
Fear of crime is not ‘a legitimate ground on which to withhold planning permission,’ the guidance said.
But if travellers say they cannot live on an existing site because they are worried about intimidation by its ruling families, ‘this should be taken into account’.
Residents will not be able to bar a gipsy site because the travellers have no local connections.
However, if gipsies can show they have local links, it strengthens their case to build a site, the guidelines added.
Travellers do not even need to have settled on a site to claim that it is their home.
And they should be given the right to pick a site of their own if the local council has failed to provide enough official sites in the neighbourhood.
The rules for planning inspectors are the culmination of a series of directives issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government over the past five years which have bent planning rules in favour of travellers.
They were laid down in spring last year but only made public yesterday after Freedom of Information requests.
It comes after a traveller group tried to exploit council workers being off over the Bank Holiday weekend to set up a permanent site without planning permission.
Villagers in Meriden, Warwickshire, have been blockading an illegal settlement to prevent travellers getting building materials on to it.
The rules said rural settings for sites ‘are acceptable in principle’. Conservation areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty ‘are not precluded’, and gipsy sites on green belt land are allowed ‘under very special circumstances’.
Local councils should not be allowed to set rules to stop this.
Tory communities spokesman Caroline Spelman said: ‘The British public want to see fair play for all, rather than special treatment being given to some.
Labour’s changes have undermined community cohesion… and caused a tide of resentment in many communities across Britain.’
Children from gipsy and traveller families are being given priority admission to popular state schools.
Heads are told to offer them places even if the school is full, has a long waiting list or if the travellers ‘are camped on the roadside and may not be here long’.
Guidelines laid down last summer by the Department for Children, Schools and Families also mean schools are told to ‘doubly scrutinise’ any decision to expel a traveller or gipsy child.
Travellers should be given priority when they need hospital treatment, GP appointments and even NHS dentists, state health rules laid down last year.
They should be able to see a GP as soon as they walk in to a surgery, even if the doctor is booked up for the day, and get a longer consultation than other patients.
Their special needs and circumstances as an ethnic minority must be taken into account. But other ethnic groups do not enjoy similar advantaged treatment.