FENLAND: Council leads the way in combating extensive inequalities among travellers

FENLAND is leading the way in combating extensive inequalities, pervasive racism and discrimination towards gypsies and travellers that is a feature of many parts of Britain, says a new study. The findings come from new research conducted by the Equality

FENLAND is leading the way in combating extensive inequalities, pervasive racism and discrimination towards gypsies and travellers that is a feature of many parts of Britain, says a new study.

The findings come from new research conducted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The commission notes that "Fenland District Council prides itself on its practical, forward-thinking approach to gypsy and traveller communities which have a long history in the area".

Five sites are owned and managed by the council and plans are afoot to identify and develop a further 108 pitches or family sized plots.


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The commission also reports how Fenland Council has built up a good relationship with travelling communities and provides them with advice an making planning applications for privately owned sites.

In its report just published the commission includes evidence taken from John Elworthy, Editor of the Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard, who was asked to reflect on media coverage of traveller issues.

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The report said that Mr Elworthy believed the travelling community's aspirations were no different to anyone else's.

"An Englishman's home may be his castle, for a gypsy his caravan is his castle," he said. "Our reporting must reflect that. I will not allow our newspapers to be intolerant."

Mr Elworthy said some local authorities were afraid of the media on this issue but they had to understand that newspapers do not set the tone "they report the reality. If the gypsy and traveller issues are being dealt with effectively and accountably, the media will have no reason to report negative stories.

"If on the other hand a council takes a belligerent attitude, newspapers take their cue- and the press are blamed for reporting that".

Councillor Fred Yeulett, deputy leader of Fenland District Council, is also quoted in the report.

"The job of a politician in my position is to listen to everyone and work with them to find the best solution".

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