Debate over temporary Leeds traveller sites

Date: 17th July 2012. Cottingley Springs Caravan Site the first 'Official' site for Travellers built by Leeds City Council in 1969.

A councillor has said that gypsies and travellers who cause damage to property in Leeds should pay for any clean-up costs ahead of a meeting where “negotiated stopping sites” for such communities will be discussed.

Coun Neil Buckley, a Conservative for Alwoodley, is due to speak out against numerous temporary travellers’ sites being planned in the city at a full council meeting today.

Nine temporary encampments are to be created on a rolling basis at vacant pockets of land which are awaiting redevelopment. Traveller families would be allowed to stay on the sites for up to 28 days but would have to sign a “good behaviour contract” with the council.

Members of the Conservative Group are concerned that Leeds City Council has not published details of where these would be.

Coun Buckley believes residents who live close by any proposed sites should be consulted first.

He said: “These proposals are deeply flawed and undemocratic.

“The council cannot hope to have the support of local people for what they are proposing, since they refuse to tell the people of Leeds where the sites will be.”

He added: “We should be monitoring behaviour on unauthorised encampments, so that when there is damage or mess, we can hold those responsible to account for their actions, including paying for any repairs or clean up operations.”

Coun Debra Coupar, in an amendment to a White Paper motion that Coun Buckley has put forward for the meeting, wrote: “Council believes negotiated stopping is an innovative approach to addressing problems caused by unauthorised encampments.”

Members of the public are able attend the meeting at Civic Hall from 1pm.

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