Travelling community outraged as council drop plans for new site
A representative of the gypsy/traveller community in the north east has slammed Aberdeen City Council after plans for a permanent halting site were dropped.
The authority is set to drop plans for the site at Hawes Road via an amendment to the local development plan which is set to go before councillors next week.
Committee convenor Neil Cooney said people in the area had complained "bitterly" about the plan, and added no new permanent site could be identified until a by-law banning unauthorised encampments was introduced.
But Brian Mcendricks, a gypsy/traveller from the north east, said the council was simply bowing to pressure from “racist local residents.”
Mcendricks, whose family have lived in the area for generations, said: “It’s disappointing a site which would have brought security and stability to families who desperately need it should be ditched just because local residents have preconceived and false opinions of gypsy/travellers.
“I’ve personally been subjected to decades of racist abuse in Aberdeen as has my entire community and now the council give in to these racist local residents because their view counts more than ours.”
The council gave in to these racist local residents because their view counts more than ours
The ruling Labour-run administration amendment will go to the communities, housing and infrastructure committee calling for the Howes Road proposals to be dropped.
Committee convenor Cooney said no new permanent site could be identified until a by-law banning unauthorised encampments was introduced.
However Mcendricks said that the creation of a new bylaw to introduce a new site could be years away.
“I don’t think this is acceptable,” he said. “All we want is running water, electricity and a safe area for our children to play. It actually means we won’t be in the way of the local community – having these amenities mean we won’t have to camp in a field or industrial estates. It’s a crazy decision.”
Aberdeen City Council has one official site in the area located at Clinterty, near the border with Aberdeenshire, which provides 21 pitches in total.
Travellers pay for the pitch as well as running costs with general upkeep the responsibility of individuals.
Mcendricks added: “We’re not asking for something for nothing. But we desperately require more sites. We want to build relationships with locals, not damage them.”
Aberdeen City Council confirmed an amendement to the plans had been lodged.