November 7, 2019 2.10 pm This story is over 48 months old

Protests and warnings as travellers’ site shortlist goes before council

“We will be taking full account of the response we get,” they said.

Senior councillors at North East Lincolnshire Council have warned residents against promoting violent or anti-social behaviour towards travellers.

At a meeting of the authority’s cabinet last night, members approved a recommendation from scrutiny to take the shortlist to public consultation and begin work on technical assessments of the sites.

Councillor Jackson, who has previously received complaints about the threats, said: “I think we need to be very careful about some of the language we’re using.

“It’s not acceptable to be condoning any sort of violent action from any part of the community against gypsies and travellers so members of the public, community and elected members need to be very careful about the sort of language being used.”

He echoed last week’s sentiments of Labour’s Kate Green who was was one of two signatories on a letter to North East Lincolnshire Council leader Philip Jackson criticising previous reports of crime and anti-social behaviour being threatened – including petrol bombs being prepared.

She called on constructive conversations between all parties and warned of racial abuse and hostility towards travellers – calling on residents to divide bad behaviour from discrimination and saying legitimate sites promoted peaceful relations.

Following the meeting, council leader Philip Jackson said the right decision was made and that anxiety and uncertainty across the borough had been reduced.

“This is a public consultation, it’s an open and transparent consultation and we will be taking full account of the response we get from the public on those sites.”

He added other sites could still be considered.

“It is a genuine consultation so if members of the public or other statutory bodies come forward with suggestions which appear to be better than the ones we’ve got we will seriously consider those – if we’re not going to do that it’s not a proper public consultation,” he said.

Protestors outside the town hall on November 6.

The current list has been whittled down from more than 1,300 potential locations over the past five years.

The five sites proposed are:

  • Former youth club on Wootton Road, Nunsthorpe
  • Torksey Drive and Toynton Road site, off Winchester Avenue
  • Land under the Cleethorpe Road flyover
  • Garibaldi Street car park
  • The car park off Wellington Street

Councillors representing the wards affected again told leaders that all the proposed sites were “unsuitable”.

They were warned local businesses and community centres could close.

Councillor Jane Bramley, who has previously warned about social media posts saying people were preparing firebombs, read a letter which added stoning and bottling to the list of threatened action and called for councillors to not “let the Nunny thugs overrule us”.

North East Lincolnshire Council’s cabinet meeting pushed forward with taking the plans to consultation.

Prior to the meeting protestors also gathered outside the town hall with placards reading “No to Travellers in Nunsthorpe.”

Hillary Treadwell said the site was too near to local businesses, schools and vulnerable people.

“There’s a lot of talk from some of the lesser-liked Nunsthorpe people, a small fraction, about stoning them, bottling them and petrol bombs,” she said.

“My worry is the travellers have children, if they’re petrol bombed what happens to those children? The older people are absolutely c**pping ourselves about the danger because if the Nunsthorpe people go at them, they’re going to retaliate and it’s going to spread across the estate and give it a bad name again.”

Technical assessments will now be started to put together, while the public consultation will begin once the General Election has taken place on December 12. It is expected comments will be scrutinised in early February.

SUBSCRIBE TO LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEKLY, our exclusive email newsletter with highlights from coverage every week, as well as insights and analysis from our local democracy reporters.