LGT is calling on the Greater London Authority to take the lead in adopting non-confrontational, negotiated responses to Gypsy and Traveller roadside camps. It wants a new “negotiated stopping” approach on all GLA land, and for the GLA to support London boroughs in adopting negotiated stopping approaches.
The call comes as a key recommendation in an important new LGT report on the potential of a negotiated stopping approach in London. Funded by the Mayor of London, and written in collaboration with Professor Jo Richardson at De Montfort University, the report assesses the value of a negotiated stopping approach, and how it might be implemented across London.
Negotiated stopping is an innovative way of addressing problems raised by the lack of suitable provision for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation. It involves local authorities and other landowners making an agreement with Gypsies and Travellers on matters such as facilities and waste disposal, sometimes directing them away from contentious public spaces to more suitable land.
The new study includes the results of research consisting of policy reviews, online surveys, focus groups and interviews with local authorities, housing associations, members of the Traveller community and other stakeholders. It concludes that there are a range of negotiated approaches which could both meet local authorities’ duties and decrease not only social costs for the Gypsy and Traveller community, but also lead to savings in public spending and improvements in community relations.
Currently, an increasing number of councils are seeking High Court injunction orders against roadside camps. “This report couldn’t be more timely, as it follows our legal challenge to council injunctions which took place on 3rd December. Another very significant issue is the Home Office consultation on criminalising trespass and increasing police powers to evict,” says Ilinca Diaconescu, LGT’s Policy Officer.
“The report brings tangible alternatives to evictions, injunctions and criminalisation. The research we have conducted has identified the factors that can make negotiated stopping a successful and effective alternative, and we can work with councils on achieving this.”
The research finds that the key ingredients for a successful negotiated stopping approach in London are: political vision, decent conditions for roadside families, a planned approach to temporary stopping , trust and partnership between Traveller families and authorities, a coordinated pan-London approach, and a clear separation of large-scale fly tipping issues from roadside stopping.
“It has been a privilege to work with London Gypsies and Travellers on this research. We know that there is an alternative to the disruptive cycle of injunction and eviction for those seeking to find accommodation, hoping to maintain their traditional habit of life and to be part of our communities. It is hoped that the examples and ideas from the research findings will be useful to civic leaders in taking the next step towards a negotiated approach” says Prof. Jo Richardson from De Montfort University.
“This research is a significant step forward in understanding how councils and other public services can help address the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers and facilitate their nomadic way of life,” says Debby Kennett, LGT Chief Executive.” It has the potential to change public narratives about roadside camps and help build inclusive neighbourhoods where Gypsy and Traveller families are welcomed.”
Download the report here: “The potential for a negotiated stopping approach in London”