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Travellers' Sites

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 8 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the letter of 11 October 2006 from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Meg Munn) to the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Turner), what the evidential basis is for her statement that local authority Travellers’ sites are accepted as a part of their local communities. (100128)

The Department’s Gypsy and Traveller Unit has extensive contact with local authorities and others who are responsible for socially rented Gypsy and Traveller caravan sites. They report many examples of well managed and maintained sites where the residents live alongside the settled community with no reported tensions. There are numerous examples of site residents becoming involved in local events and, for example, participating in neighbourhood watch schemes. Where tensions with the settled community do occur in particular cases, the Government have provided strong powers for local authorities to address unauthorised camping and antisocial behaviour. It would be wrong to allow a few high-profile cases to distort the overall picture.