Traveller site 'will stop racism' (Leicester Mercury 20/4/09)

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Traveller site 'will stop racism' (Leicester Mercury 20/4/09)

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:28 am

A travellers' site should be built in Groby to improve relations with residents, the leader of a gipsy group has claimed.

Alfred Kefford, chairman of Leicester Gipsy Council liaison group, made the call in the wake of "racist" comments made by a councillor at a public meeting to discuss plans for a travellers' site in Groby.

At the meeting, county councillor for Groby and Ratby Rob Fraser said Romanians would "stick a knife in you as soon as look at you" and that some Europeans "make the Irish look like complete amateurs".

Today Mr Kefford said: "They definitely need a site in Groby to stop the racism that came out of that meeting.

"Maybe if there was a site there, there could be better relations with the people there."
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He said there was a "definite need" for a council-owned site in Groby.

Mr Kefford said: "If it is a council-owned site I am prepared to run it."

Mr Kefford already runs a residential traveller site at Aston Firs, in Hinckley, which has 50 pitches.

But Peter Batty, parish council chairman and borough councillor for Groby, said he did not believe such a plan would do anything to improve relations.

He said: "Mr Kefford is entitled to his opinion.

"It's not one that will be shared by the majority of Groby's residents, or me.

"We've had more than our fair share of problems with travellers over the years.

"If he's interested in fostering relations, he needs to look at the experiences Groby residents have had with travellers.

"His viewpoint is naive. In the past the area has seen travellers moving in illegally, and they have not exactly covered themselves in glory.

"Groby is bursting at the seams. Our facilities are overstretched.

"It's got nothing to do with race. Our encounters with travellers have not left a pleasant memory. I think Mr Kefford needs to work on improving public relations and convince everyone that they can improve their behaviour."

Groby resident Frank Spurr, 81, said: "I don't think it would improve the relationship between residents and the travellers if they moved here.

"Property prices would no doubt come down and I think people may grow to resent that."

Fellow resident James Rose, 23, said: "Even if they were given a chance and there were no problems, I think people might still be unsure about them."

Hundreds of residents attended the meeting at Groby Community College on January 8 to discuss plans by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council for a transit site off Sacheverell Way.

Coun Fraser's comments sparked outrage from Mr Kefford when they were uploaded to the video website YouTube.

Coun Fraser was suspended from the Conservative group and ordered to take a diversity and equality course.

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Re: Traveller site 'will stop racism' (Leicester Mercury 20/4/09)

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:32 pm

Looks as though the Leciester Mercury arent allowing *all* comments to be posted for some reason??

If your comment hasnt appeared then let us know and post it here.

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