“Under siege” Tempers flare at meeting over Gypsy-Traveller crisis in Harlow

Politics / Thu 18th Sep 2014 at 04:28am

TravellersRAISED voices and short tempers were a feature of a meeting dominated by the subject of the Gypsy-Traveller problem in Harlow.

Over a hundred members of the public attended the meeting at the Park Inn which was chaired by the police and crime commissioner, Nick Alston.

Harlow MP, Robert Halfon opened the meeting and detailed a number of letters sent to him by residents, where they allege they are living in a state of terror due to the presence of Gypsy-Travellers.

This was followed by, what was described as a “lamentable” performance by the police representatives, particularly, the acting chief inspector, Greg Wood, who, it would appear has lost the confidence of the Harlow public.

Two members of the public, who identified themselves as Gypsy-Travellers, spoke to the group and said that the crux of the matter was that they had lost land in Epping.

This was a great help especially as the representative of the Essex County Traveller Unit had told the press that he had “No idea” why there was such an increase in the number of Travellers in Harlow.

At this point the meeting descended into chaos. Police Crime Commissioner lost control. At this point, UKIP representatives left the meeting muttering: “Chaos”.

Harlow TUC rep, David Foreman made a detailed explanation of how complicated matters can be.

It was clear that the police had travelled far far from their reason to exist and have come to be an organisation that, like at this meeting, spends most of its time, telling people what they can’t do.

A member of the clergy, defended the

The most powerful and reasoned speech of the night came from Harlow Common councillor, Maggie Hulcoop, who, in one minute, crystallised, the Harlow problem in 2014.

Cllr Hulcoop said: “We, the people of Harlow, have been in a state of siege for nearly a year. It has to stop and cannot go on. You need to come up with a solution. This is totally unacceptable.”

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3 Comments for “Under siege” Tempers flare at meeting over Gypsy-Traveller crisis in Harlow:

2014-09-18 19:25:00

There were not 50 people at the meeting last evening as The Start quoted; a quick count put the number at well over 100. Regarding the continual and growing issue of traveller movements, lets call them gypsies not travellers as they don’t seem intent on continuing their travels. ‘Gypsy’ must be an acceptable term since the woman representing their interests at the meeting referred to themselves as gypsies and tinkers (see the video of the meeting on yourharlow.com). We seems to be stuck in some sort of ‘Groundhog Day’, a section 61 notice being issued, Gypsies moving to their next preferred site to wreck and eventually ending up back at the site they were evicted from, what a farce. After a year of this debacle it’s obvious to Harlow residents and to the gypsies that section 61 notices do not work. Harlow residents are getting ever more frustrated by the situation and the gypsies take ever more advantage with their numbers growing. How can the point made by the gentleman last evening, that being evicted from his field in Epping and then setting up sites in Harlow somehow justifies his and the rest of his gypsy community’s actions in any way. How much longer will the Council authorities, the Police and the courts continue trying to use tools like section 61 when they so obviously don’t work. There were no answers from the meeting last evening, I share Robert Halfon’s view that there should be zero tolerance to this issue. There needs to be a plan drawn up with goals to be achieved to a recognized timescale in order to bring this to an end. If that does not happen I share the views of others…we are heading toward another Dale Farm situation but all over Harlow…what will that do to the value of our houses?

2014-09-19 05:41:31

Well said terryb.

2014-09-30 14:44:26

Some people have starting calling them the "Doasyoulikeys", and frankly that's exactly what they are. We need solutions not excuses - because enough is enough. Harlow people should not be put in this position, nor should their taxes be used to clear up the mess!

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