Does Local Democracy Work?

A public meeting to discuss proposals for three travellers’ camps was abandoned after 400 residents turned up.

On grounds of..?

Yeah, you guessed it:

So many people from Leicester’s Abbey and Beaumont Leys wards arrived at the meeting venue that it was deemed a health and safety risk to let it go ahead.

The hall was designed for a quarter of the occupancy, and selected because, well, who expects people to turn up in such numbers? Who wouldn’t be just delighted to have a traveller camp fire hazard next to them?

Councillors were forced to abandon the meeting, at the Tudor Centre, in Bewcastle Grove, Mowmacre Hill, after the residents tried to pack into a hall designed for 80 people.Police were asked to attend Tuesday night’s meeting. Officers stopped many residents from entering the building once it had become dangerously overfilled.


Do police normally attend these sorts of meetings? If not, it rather sounds as though the council knew there was likely to be a big turnout, so why not switch venue?

Councillors are looking for a new venue to accommodate more people and will release details of the meeting in the Leicester Mercury soon.

I wonder how many will turn up this time?

Paul Mayer, 50, who lives near the Redhill site, said: “I want to know whether these sites are going to go ahead regardless of the meetings. I get the impression that they’re just humouring the residents and they’ve already made up their minds – it’s a done deal.”

Which is denied by one of the councillors. I would use the term ‘refuted’, but since I’ve got a dictionary, I can’t:

Responding to the concerns, Coun Byrne said: “It’s not a done deal, we’ve been told by the Government that we’ve got to have these sitesin Leicester, so this is what’s been proposed.”It’s being consulted on at the minute with residents and the three sites are not official – no decision will be made until the end of the consultation.”

So, basically, it IS a done deal, and all that’s left to quibble over is where they are going to go? Thanks for, ummm, clearing that up…

The consultation has been extended by two weeks and will now run until Friday, April 13.

A very auspicious date, I’m sure.

14 comments for “Does Local Democracy Work?

  1. Chuckles
    March 6, 2012 at 11:12 am

    The word ‘Local’ might profitably be left out of the question.

  2. Henry Crun
    March 6, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Travellers or to give them their full name, Caravan Utilising Nomadic TravellerS.

    • March 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      Excellent. And promptly nicked. 😀

      • March 7, 2012 at 7:07 am


  3. john in cheshire
    March 6, 2012 at 11:36 am

    It’s sometimes seems to be a pity that our fellow countrymen aren’t as volatile as the typical muslim is shown to be. Perhaps after prayers on Sunday, the local townspeople could go on a bit of a rampage, posting their antics on facebook or youtube.
    Personally, I’d hate having a ‘travellers’ site near to where I live.

    • March 7, 2012 at 7:07 am

      It’s just not the way we do things.

  4. Tattyfalarr
    March 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I would use the term ‘refuted’, but since I’ve got a dictionary, I can’t:

    Love it 😆

    • March 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      Me too – neat.

  5. March 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    The term “deportation” floats about the mind but shan’t express it.

    • Maaarrghk!
      March 7, 2012 at 5:30 am

      It might beg the question “Deportation to where?”

      Where does someone who was probably born here get deported to?

      In the case of a traveller/gypsy, this may well mean a lay-by on the A39 or an industrial estate car park that was left with the gate unlocked one weekend.

      Whilst I would not normally take sides with these people, the fact remains that they are free within the law to lead a life that involves travelling and therefore need to park up somewhere. This is not to say that I advocate trespass on private property, as I do not.

      Do we simply bite that particular bullet and ban them from travelling or what?

      This could turn out to be a right bag of adders…..

      • March 7, 2012 at 6:27 am

        First thought was that I agree with you “the fact remains that they are free within the law to lead a life that involves travelling and therefore need to park up somewhere” because our first thought is always a libertarian one if possible.

        It’s a bit like teachers – I told those at the school where I was head – your first thought is to say No to protect them. Whatever it is, the first thought is auto-No. Your first thought should be Yes if the odds are pretty overwhelming that they weren’t going to directly come to harm. That’s a big shift in thinking for many. Against that is duty of care, especially as they weren’t our biological children and the parent might have different ideas on what’s safe or not.

        In this case – what rights do people permanently settled in an area and paying through the nose for it have? I’d say if there is land freed up out of town in a reasonable place, perhaps near a stream, then that’s enough – no power supply is necessary.

        Monitored as any place is e.g. our canal network. Boats have a fortnight in one place and move on. They’re travellers in other words. It works fine with narrowboat owners so why doesn’t it with travellers?

        Everyone knows why – it’s the criminality and that’s something up with which people should not have to put. So, travellers come into an area, the risk is higher of criminality, which then involves costs of monitoring and litigation, all borne by the taxpayer, not the traveller.

        If I choose to be a traveller, to go from town to town on this island, then I have to be able to feed myself. If I can’t, then how am I going to? By crime or the largesse of people. Therefore I think people living in an area have a right to be worried. If I made myself useful and volunteered for work in the area plus I was halfway human in my habits, then the attitude might be different.

        If a certain group is a known known, e.g. radical Muslim or traveller, then what’s the solution? The jails are already full and are costing taxpayers. I’d suggest if the previous generation of the offender were directly from abroad, then three strikes and they’re out, back to their land of origin.

        Those who are multigenerational here are another matter – of course they are. If you find that suggestion now offensive, then what’s the alternative? I’m referring to the crim travellers, not travellers per se.

        • Maaarrghk!
          March 7, 2012 at 10:15 am

          Thanks for taking the time to clarify James.

      • March 7, 2012 at 7:11 am

        “It might beg the question “Deportation to where?”

        Where does someone who was probably born here get deported to?”

        Well, a significant percentage of them are Irish, maintaining close links and even property there. Heard of Rathkeale?

        They’re over here because Eire tightened up the laws on travellers, and made it too uncomfortable to carry on their ‘traditional way of life’ such as squatting, distraction burglary, petty theft, dog fighting and scrap metal theft.

        We need to do the same.

  6. ivan
    March 7, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Since they are travellers shouldn’t they be travelling? Any one of them that stays on a site for more than two weeks should have to pay site rent and costs, on an increasing scale over time – if they can’t/won’t then their property automatically becomes forfeit, no arguments or court cases.

Comments are closed.