Travellers' rights seem more important than ours
THE planning application ( Horse trainer s fears over travellers plan , July 9) is the third within the parish of Somersham where the planning department of Huntingdonshire District Council has chosen to override normal planning and either refused to enfo
THE planning application ("Horse trainer's fears over travellers plan", July 9) is the third within the parish of Somersham where the planning department of Huntingdonshire District Council has chosen to override normal planning and either refused to enforce the planning policy and guidelines of the council or ignored them for the benefit of a minority group.
It has been pointed out to HDC that using the parish of Somersham as a dumping ground for travellers is unacceptable to the residents of Somersham and, as usual, the views of residents have been ignored. This is regrettable, as HDC does not take seriously the possibility that the fundamental nature of the community of Somersham will potentially be changed for ever by the exaggerated impact of the change in ethnicity and lifestyle as ever larger numbers of pitches are permitted for travellers.
The relatively small number of pitches has nothing whatever to do with the numbers of families that may exist within each pitch. Somersham, following the acceptance of this application, will bear the brunt of seven of the 20 pitches deemed necessary across the district, despite representing a tiny proportion of the district's land area and an even smaller proportion of the land mass.
Whereas the rights of travellers to uphold their lifestyle is held sacrosanct in all tiers of government, the right of ancient communities such as that of Somersham is held to be unworthy of regard.
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I am aware that a number of objectors have made personal attacks on the applicant and his family and I feel this is a shame. However, HDC stands guilty of the grossest violations of the principle of human rights and racist behaviour by the way it has handled this application. It is patently obvious to anyone who reads the notes to support the decision, the weasel words used, that there was never the remotest justification for accepting this proposal.
Planning rules and laws have been ridden over roughshod and to what end? To allow a planning application that, had it been made by a Chinese person, an African or white, would have been rejected out of hand, is the most perverse form of racism.
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Perhaps someone from among that sea of faceless bureaucrats would explain to the residents of Somersham why exactly the human rights of a traveller are to be valued more greatly than those of the rest of us. Are we not all equal?
I appreciate that it is no longer fashionable to teach English history to English students in England, so councillors may not be aware of the significance of the statue standing in the centre of the town of St Ives. Remember Oliver Cromwell. Remember the principle of equality under the law.
It would seem that in Huntingdonshire, some are more equal than others.
Editor's note: HDC's development control panel refused the application on Monday.