Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

News Shorts And Other Business

What the Eyes Don’t See - The Mind Doesn’t Have to Ponder

Squall 10, Summer 1995, pg. 8.

Families living on Taylor’s Avenue gypsy site in Cleethorpes were evicted at the end of May.

The land was first occupied in 1991 by around 15 gypsy families who had previously been kicked off a number of official sites in the neighbouring borough of Grimsby.

They then found themselves on a piece of county council land on the salubrious Taylor’s Avenue; the Mayfair of Cleethorpes. A court case, started by Mandy Smith and strongly fought, quickly followed. The judge ruled that under the 1968 Caravan Sites Act, the council could not carry out an eviction until an alternative site had been found. He also ordered that amenities including rubbish collection, toilets and water be provided.

Over the next four years 30 alternative sites were looked at. Every one was objected to by local residents and rejected. Within a year the net-curtain -twitching-brigade had mobilised and launched a residents’ action group to protest against the Taylor’s Avenue site. The Grimsby Evening Telegraph began printing stories every week, joining a campaign which peaked two years ago when the then lady Mayor led a 100-strong not-in-our-street march in opposition to the site.

Finally time ran out, no alternative site had been located and the case went back to court. Christine Price and others living on the site worked hard, attempting a planning application, but this time the magistrate saw it as a straightforward criminal justice eviction case and, by this time - under the CJA - the council no longer had a statutory obligation to provide another site so they simply didn’t bother.

The community of around eight families who were left on the site has been broken up as, once again, they have been forced to shift. The settled (in houses) residents’ final and shameful word was printed in the local rag: “They didn’t really bother us too much. We just didn’t like looking at them.”