"We need to consider what the settled community want" - the argument against accommodating more Gypsies in Stockton

DAY OF ANGER: Leader of Thornaby Independent Association, Councillor Steve Walmsley

DAY OF ANGER: Leader of Thornaby Independent Association, Councillor Steve Walmsley

First published in News
Last updated
Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Stockton/Hartlepool)

OBJECTORS against potential new Gypsy sites in a North-East town are already rallying. Chris Webber spoke to a community leader, Steve Walmsley, who said the needs of the settled community should also be considered.

IT only takes a glance to see the anger and the worry inside Steve Walmsley.

Minutes before we speak, the leader of the Thornaby Independent Association had shouted, red-faced, in Stockton Borough Council’s planning committee.

He could not understand how, after more than 10,000 plots of land were considered as possible Gypsy sites, two of them have ended up in his beloved Thornaby.

Coun Walmsley explained he accepted that none of the six sites initially listed for consideration may ever become Gypsy or traveller sites and that, at this stage, the council is merely initiating a public consultation, although even that has been enough for dozens of his constituents to approach him with their fears.

And he, repeatedly and emphatically, stressed it is not prejudice against any group in society that has caused his anger.

“Thornaby is a great town, very welcome to all people who want to play by the rules of the people who already live there,” he said, sitting right outside the council meeting chamber as other councillors pass by.

“That includes anyone of any race, creed or colour. But not everyone plays by those rules.

“We had a situation, a few years ago now, where nine families were moved into a street in the town.

It wasn’t those families who caused trouble but what can happen is, once you’ve got a community like that, it can act like a magnet for others who can come from all points of the compass.

They can set up mobile sites, often temporary, if there’s a funeral or something like that.

"We had trouble where a boy was being attacked right outside Thornaby council's chambers and I got all kinds of calls about trouble in the town centre.

“We also have to consider the needs of the settled community, people who have lived in the community a long time. We have to represent them, and what they want.”

Later, in another Stockton council meeting, Coun Walmsley’s point about protecting the needs of the settled community was taken up by fellow councillor, Labour’s Paul Kirton.

“It’s about people who’ve lived in our communities for years and years and years. They can end up with a blight on their neighbourhood, with caravans, trucks and horses everywhere.

"I’ve had young people with homes on to me, they know that as soon as a Gypsy site is designated in the Local Plan, even if it never comes to pass, they won’t be able to sell their homes.”

Less than an hour after he spoke dozens of ordinary Stockton folk held the first of what will, surely, be many public meetings, this one in Stockton's Tabernacle. The anger was, clearly, not confined to just Coun Walmsley.

Comments (7)

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8:43pm Wed 15 Jan 14

behonest says...

That's right Echo, portray Coun Walmsley as having 'anger' issues.

But in the other article, portray the fears of 'racism' against the gypsies.

The usual bias.
That's right Echo, portray Coun Walmsley as having 'anger' issues. But in the other article, portray the fears of 'racism' against the gypsies. The usual bias. behonest
  • Score: 24

11:00pm Wed 15 Jan 14

CLEVELANDPC says...

behonest wrote:
That's right Echo, portray Coun Walmsley as having 'anger' issues. But in the other article, portray the fears of 'racism' against the gypsies. The usual bias.
Mr walmsley is one of the few left with any standing in the council to act with honesty & integrity as apose to kick backs & under the counter dealings. There's no racism here this man clearly is looking after the interests of the area & existing community as best he can. Good on him, shame there's not more like him !
[quote][p][bold]behonest[/bold] wrote: That's right Echo, portray Coun Walmsley as having 'anger' issues. But in the other article, portray the fears of 'racism' against the gypsies. The usual bias.[/p][/quote]Mr walmsley is one of the few left with any standing in the council to act with honesty & integrity as apose to kick backs & under the counter dealings. There's no racism here this man clearly is looking after the interests of the area & existing community as best he can. Good on him, shame there's not more like him ! CLEVELANDPC
  • Score: 29

11:19pm Wed 15 Jan 14

NO EINSTEIN says...

Listen folks, I made a few truthful observations on this subject and had loads of thumbs up.
Needless to say The Northern Echo wiped my comment.

Please don't say what you think or say it how it is, The Northern Echo is more concerned about being sued, than the people real views being expressed.
Listen folks, I made a few truthful observations on this subject and had loads of thumbs up. Needless to say The Northern Echo wiped my comment. Please don't say what you think or say it how it is, The Northern Echo is more concerned about being sued, than the people real views being expressed. NO EINSTEIN
  • Score: 26

7:40am Thu 16 Jan 14

darloboss says...

why cant we have honest true reporting instead of everything slanted in the travellers favour
I dont want them, I dont need them, I shouldnt have to put up with them, I dont want to be seen as racist but that is their speciality playing the race card.
the vast majority are irish travellers over here to thieve and rob their behavior is not accepted in ireland where they are hounded out
why is it allowed to go on over here, why do police and councils turn blind eyes to them ?
If they want to be known as travellers thats what they should do jog on
why cant we have honest true reporting instead of everything slanted in the travellers favour I dont want them, I dont need them, I shouldnt have to put up with them, I dont want to be seen as racist but that is their speciality playing the race card. the vast majority are irish travellers over here to thieve and rob their behavior is not accepted in ireland where they are hounded out why is it allowed to go on over here, why do police and councils turn blind eyes to them ? If they want to be known as travellers thats what they should do jog on darloboss
  • Score: 19

1:14pm Thu 16 Jan 14

Voice-of-reality says...

The answer is simple:

Listen to those who pay income tax and obey the law - they pay for the councils, the politicians, and the country.

No representation without taxation needs to become the new mantra.
The right to vote and influence society should be restricted to those who contribute to it.
The answer is simple: Listen to those who pay income tax and obey the law - they pay for the councils, the politicians, and the country. No representation without taxation needs to become the new mantra. The right to vote and influence society should be restricted to those who contribute to it. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 6

1:15pm Thu 16 Jan 14

SilviaGreen00 says...

Yes.I just got paid five thousand usd working off my laptop this month. And if you think that's cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over Eight thousand usd her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do, Best96.com
Yes.I just got paid five thousand usd working off my laptop this month. And if you think that's cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over Eight thousand usd her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do, Best96.com SilviaGreen00
  • Score: -9

2:36pm Thu 16 Jan 14

darloboss says...

well said vor
well said vor darloboss
  • Score: 3

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