YEP Says, April 1: A pitched battle with Government over travellers

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...and Sir Kev’s still in a league of his own

TRAVELLERS pose a problem for local authorities. Though there are those within the travelling community who obey the rules, there are also plenty who don’t.

It’s why £3m of Leeds taxpayers’ money has been spent over the last 10 years on removing unauthorised camps in the city and cleaning up the mess that’s been left behind.

That’s a burden the public purse could well do without – particularly at a time when council finances are being stretched to the limit.

So the decision by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles to block proposals to expand the Cottingley Springs gypsy and traveller site isn’t particularly helpful.

It’s a decision that causes uncertainty both for travellers and local residents – as well as consigning a hefty amount of planning to the scrapheap.

But the good news is that important strides are being made in terms of reducing the costs borne by the city.

Urgently needed caravan pitches are being provided and trailblazing work means there hasn’t been a complaint about an illegal encampment for the best part of a year.

It would just be an awful lot easier to find a solution to some of the problems surrounding how we accommodate travellers if there was a sense that the Government was less of a hindrance and more of a help.

Sir Kev’s still in a league of his own

RHINOS legend Kevin Sinfield’s decision to swap league for union is a huge shock.

But at the age of 34, having achieved all there is to within the game, it’s understandable that he’s keen to get stuck into a new challenge.

Switching codes is no easy task. If anyone can make a success of it, though, it’s surely Sinfield, whose talent and drive have been the catalyst for a golden era of achievement for Leeds rugby.

The Rhinos’ loss is a huge gain for Yorkshire Carnegie. But Rhinos fans everywhere will thank Sir Kev for his years of inspirational service and wish him well for the next chapter in what has been a stellar rugby career.

PIC: Simon Hulme

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