Tag Archives: Travellers


From ‘Human Being’ in the comments

Yesterday saw the planned eviction of a travellers site on Glenfrome Road, Eastville. When I say planned I mean in so much as police, bailiffs and a crane were organised to remove people and vans from land that West & Wales Utilities say they want to use.

So what provisions where planned for these people, including children? Councillors for Eastville, Labour’s Marley Bennett and the Green’s Lorraine Francis*, both failed to do anything or say anything. Well then Green Party leader Paula O’Rouke? Nothing.

So then surely Helen Godwin must have stuck up for families, homes and children? She must have had a plan in place to ensure provision for these vulnerable people now homeless on a wet and windy day. Nothing. No alternative site lined up. No hot meals ready for those evicted forcibly. No care from this Labour Party politician. Not present at the scene, nothing. Not a word.

What from the mayor who’s well versed in issues concerning oppressed minorities and equality?


* We have been informed that the site is actually in the Lockleaze Ward and the councillors are the Green Party’s Heather Mack and David Wilcox


The recent arrival of a gypsy camp in Avonmouth has landed a lot of people in the shit. Not least the good folk of Avonmouth who are having to cope with an increasing pile of human excrement around the site.

The council’s environmental health team have confirmed the situation is a potential public health hazard while the council’s ‘Gypsy Team’ have leaped straight into action by spending a week refusing to do the simple thing and install some portaloos and instead have switched on their answering machine to better ignore Avonmouth residents.

Now it seems the only person with the authority to order a portaloo is the mayor himself. Obviously expecting council staff to use their initiative and solve a problem is way too much to ask. Read the emails below and weep:

On 30 Apr 2014, at 13:10, “steven norman” <s-norman123@hotmail.co.uk> wrote:

Dear George,

I email in reference to the above you may or not be aware of it? This camp is creating a human urine & excrement problem and it appears no one within the esteemed halls of government is able to turn the light bulb on and say, ‘oops we need to put a portaloo in this camp before we end up with a public health problem’.

I have, for nearly a week now, been trying to get common sense to prevail on the installation of a said temporary toilet whilst the council get back possession of the land. Unfortunately after numerous calls to the “DEDICATED GYPSY TEAM” (AKA ONE PERSON WITH AN ANSWERING MACHINE) and other overpaid council officers who seem to have a problem with using a telephone – including your office – I am no further forward. To be quite honest I think it would easier to seek the holy grail. Under your mayorship is this your and your esteemed overpaid officers’ attempt to take us back to the dark ages when it was common practise to relieve yourself of bodily fluids and waste anywhere?

You have closed all the public toilets including those in Avonmouth Village. Yet here we are, the green capital of Europe, a city unable to provide a temporary toilet to prevent a possible public health problem.

Whilst I accept living in Avonmouth, Shirehampton or Lawrence Weston is like living in Bristol’s equivalent of Russia’s Chernobyl with all the industry currently here and the further planned expansions such as the second incinerator, two biomass plants and a second gas fired power station. Maybe you have plans of visiting this Russian city and twinning us so we will feel a bond when we develop life threatening illnesses?

Whilst you may feel I am being a bit facetious with the above I would like to ask three simple questions. I can assure you it won’t take a rocket scientist to answer them and will be within the capability of the esteemed officers.

Q, Are You Happy That Humans Are  Expelling Human Body Waste In A Public Place?

Q  Is It The Intention Under Your Mayor ship To Take Us Back To The Dark Ages?

Q, Do You And Your Overpaid Officers Accept Full Responsibility That The Expelling Of Human Waste & Urine Can Create A Public Health Problem?

I and my fellow constituents look forward to your replies asap or just maybe common sense will prevail and a temporary toilet will be installed. Of course you and your officers could always ignore this email and allow me the opportunity of asking these questions of you direct at next full council public forum.

Kindest Regards

Mr Stephen Norman
Tel: 07747490902


From: zoe.sear@bristol.gov.uk
To: s-norman123@hotmail.co.uk
CC: mayor@bristol.gov.uk
Subject: Re: Illegal Gypsy Camp Avonmouth Bridge
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2014 12:18:14 +0000

Dear Mr Norman, 

A brief acknowledgement, to advise that the best email address for George is mayor@bristol.gov.uk not the one you are using – I am copying this to the team now, and I know you are in dialogue with the Mayor’s Office and officers, and I ask that they review your letter below, and we respond.

Best wishes, 


Team – please can you arrange for the Mayor and I to be briefed at 3pm today when we get back, by the relevant director?

Sent from my iPad

From: mayor@bristol.gov.uk
To: zoe.sear@bristol.gov.uk
CC: s-norman123@hotmail.co.uk
Subject: RE: Illegal Gypsy Camp Avonmouth Bridge
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2014 12:25:52 +0000


Hi Zoe,

Just to let you know that the earliest possible availability for officers to brief will be 6pm this evening. I’ve diarised that accordingly.



From: s-norman123@hotmail.co.uk
To: mayor@bristol.gov.uk
Subject: RE: Illegal Gypsy Camp Avonmouth Bridge
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2014 13:28:49 +0100

Well at least it now seems to be receiving some overdue attention I await the response with baited breath

Kindest Regards

Mr Stephen Norman


From: s-norman123@hotmail.co.uk
To: mayor@bristol.gov.uk
CC: zoe.sear@bristol.gov.uk
Subject: Re:Illegal Gypsy Camp
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2014 14:07:01 +0100

Dear George & Staff,

I have just received a telephone call from a Mr K Evans, an Avonmouth constituent who has just got off the phone with the “Dedicated Gypsy Team Of One”. I am somewhat perplexed by this persons statement to Mr Evans.

(Conversation As Stated To Me By Mr Evans)

The dedicated Gypsy Team will not install a temporary toilet facility as it will give the Gypsies the wrong impression, however we will organise a cleaning team

If this is the attitude of the dedicated gypsy team what hope is there of common sense from overpaid officers who have no concern for fellow citizens of Bristol?

Will you please clarify if this cleaning team will be on 24hr call out and what the cost of such an operation will be compared to the cost of hiring a temporary toilet whilst BCC get back possession of the land. Clearly in a time of cuts I am hoping you will be making the most cost effective decision to solve the current problem.

Also will you please clarify as to whether or not you will be making it more difficult for a reoccurrence of the current situation with the installation of some sort of protective barriers?

I look forward to your reply

Kindest Regards

Mr Stephen Norman


Web ExclusiveBy an Ashley Ward resident.

Ashley Ward has a long history of offering refuge to many ‘socially marginal’ minority groups such as ‘travellers’ and ‘New Age Gypsies’. Some have been ‘resident’ before and since the infamous Battle of The Bean Field in June 1985 and are an integrated part of the community.

For many years this groups’ legal difficulties in the area were assisted by a specialist solicitor Brian Cox (now retired), an associate of Bobbetts Mackan Solicitors of Queens Square Clifton. Bobbetts still have Solicitors who do pro-bono work around civil liberties issues like travellers.

Living and working in a van is not illegal. Current road traffic regulations permit converted vans subject to weight and internal re-arrangements to be zero rated for Road Fund Duty and exempt from MOT regulations dependent on a ‘satisfactory’ mechanical inspection.

If a designated Living Van is seized it is effectively a ‘forcible eviction’ and should require a court order.

The Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLC) recognises the difficulties ‘travellers’ have with registered addresses and have posted the following advice isinresponse to a Freedom of Information Request made on July 9 2012

From: FOI, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, 13 July 2012
In recognition of the difficulties involved for some keepers, (for example, travellers) in providing a permanent address, DVLA will accept a care of address. This address may be a friend, doctor, hotel, hostel or similar providing the resident gives permission for the keeper of the vehicle to use the address. PO Box addresses are not accepted for individuals.

If the DVLA, a government agency, accepts a ‘care of address’ as a suitable registration address for travellers then so should Bristol City Council when considering permit allocations for their proposed Resident Parking Schemes (RPS).