Newport school says sorry for gypsy remarks

A SCHOOL governing body which claimed that a proposed gypsy site nearby could damage behaviour and attendance has apologised for the statement.

Llanwern High School’s governors had objected to the proposed site at Hartridge Farm Road, suggesting pupil safety could be at risk if an animal came loose.

But the group has now retracted comments in the planning submission, saying some of them are factually inaccurate and inappropriate.

The comments, made by the governing body as part of the Newport council local development plan process, suggested the large size of the site could cause “costly damage to the new Llanwern High in terms of physical damage, reputation and image of the school.”

It adds that there could be an impact “on attendance, behaviour and attainment measures” at the school.

The governing body said such communal sites are “likely to promote conflict” within gypsy families, and said it was “well known that many traveller families keep a stock of dogs, ponies and horses”.

“There are many well documented examples of these animals escaping their confines,” the submission claims.

“An animal of this nature running out and wandering through the Llanwern High School site will undoubtedly cause issues for pupils, staff and visitor safety.”

It also said the access road to the site required extensive and costly refurbishment to bring it up to a safe standard.

The Traveller Movement campaign group wrote to the school saying the submission was discriminatory, “inappropriate and worrying given the need for schools to be inclusive”.

A letter from the governors’ chairman Ann Lewis, released by campaigners, dissociated the body from the observation the site could impact the school’s reputation, image, behaviour, attainment and attendance, saying there was no evidence to support it.

However, the letter said there were more suitable sites that better meet the needs of gypsy and traveller families.

A spokesman for the Traveller Movement said: “How would a gipsy or traveller pupil at the school feel about the school’s claim that gypsies and travellers are bound to cause problems by letting their animals wander around on the road?

“The site is intended for Newport gypsy families and as far as we are aware they do not even keep any livestock or horses.“

A statement from the governing body said: “We recognise that our response to the public consultation contained comments that were not factually accurate and we acknowledge the inappropriateness of their inclusion.

“The governing body has retracted these and apologises unreservedly for any offence that may unintentionally have been caused.”

Comments (16)

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7:00pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Votefornoneoftheabove says...

The bigger issue for the residents of the Ringland area is that the site is not wanted, not because they are travellers but because it is in the wrong location, pure and simple.

If you have been looking on the Environment Agencies website over the past week or so you can clearly see that flooding is expected in the area the new site is proposed, I believe (although I may be wrong) that people objecting to the site have been told that there is no possibility of flooding.

You have issues with access, the roads around Ringland are congested enough and there are parking problems around all schools in the area.

Best of all for Llanwern High is the following fact: Bob Bright local councillor for Ringland and on the board of Llanwern High School is the same man who asked for the sites to be re-run!

If he and the other councillors for Ringland do not get the sites removed there will be a lot of upset people. They don't have to worry too much though as Ringland will always vote Labour as Mr Bright fully realises, thus enabling him to collect his nearly 45 - 50 thousand pound a year allowance.

Llanwern School are right in objecting, what they should do is look at one of there own governors who has helped cause this issue for them, look him in the eye and ask " why Bob oh why?"
The bigger issue for the residents of the Ringland area is that the site is not wanted, not because they are travellers but because it is in the wrong location, pure and simple. If you have been looking on the Environment Agencies website over the past week or so you can clearly see that flooding is expected in the area the new site is proposed, I believe (although I may be wrong) that people objecting to the site have been told that there is no possibility of flooding. You have issues with access, the roads around Ringland are congested enough and there are parking problems around all schools in the area. Best of all for Llanwern High is the following fact: Bob Bright local councillor for Ringland and on the board of Llanwern High School is the same man who asked for the sites to be re-run! If he and the other councillors for Ringland do not get the sites removed there will be a lot of upset people. They don't have to worry too much though as Ringland will always vote Labour as Mr Bright fully realises, thus enabling him to collect his nearly 45 - 50 thousand pound a year allowance. Llanwern School are right in objecting, what they should do is look at one of there own governors who has helped cause this issue for them, look him in the eye and ask " why Bob oh why?" Votefornoneoftheabove
  • Score: 37

8:18am Fri 7 Feb 14

Steve811 says...

Why do I get the feeling that the above was written by none other than an ex-councillor? Llanwern is worried it will not attract "the right pupils" and maintain it's status as a "good" school, but this and David Hando's letter in the Argus smacks of elitism and Nimby thinking.
Why do I get the feeling that the above was written by none other than an ex-councillor? Llanwern is worried it will not attract "the right pupils" and maintain it's status as a "good" school, but this and David Hando's letter in the Argus smacks of elitism and Nimby thinking. Steve811
  • Score: -14

11:11am Fri 7 Feb 14

Scyvingagain says...

You might be nearer the truth than you realise Steve811. Three of the Llanwern High School Governors are councillors. One of them is none other than Newport Council Leader Bob Bright, who voted against his own council in the failed ammendment to get Hartridge Farm Road Traveller site proposal removed from the LDP.
You might be nearer the truth than you realise Steve811. Three of the Llanwern High School Governors are councillors. One of them is none other than Newport Council Leader Bob Bright, who voted against his own council in the failed ammendment to get Hartridge Farm Road Traveller site proposal removed from the LDP. Scyvingagain
  • Score: -11

11:40am Fri 7 Feb 14

Scyvingagain says...

Too big? Too much traffic? Its in an area of Newport that is full of massive housing estates, industrial estates and major trunk roads. Where it is going to be was a road safety/driving test centre and would have had a lot more traffic per day than a 47 pitch - three family Traveller site.
The reason why the anti-Traveller site campaigners don't want it is because of racism - pure and simple. They don't want it because it will have Gypsies living there - nothing to do with size. A welcome in the hillside? Not if the instigators of 'Ringland Matters' get their way. Shame on you. Well done to the Council for sticking to their guns.
Too big? Too much traffic? Its in an area of Newport that is full of massive housing estates, industrial estates and major trunk roads. Where it is going to be was a road safety/driving test centre and would have had a lot more traffic per day than a 47 pitch - three family Traveller site. The reason why the anti-Traveller site campaigners don't want it is because of racism - pure and simple. They don't want it because it will have Gypsies living there - nothing to do with size. A welcome in the hillside? Not if the instigators of 'Ringland Matters' get their way. Shame on you. Well done to the Council for sticking to their guns. Scyvingagain
  • Score: -16

12:22pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Jack Land says...

Ringland is not a nice area. Hartridge is not a nice school. Travellers are not nice people to live nearby. Nobody takes any sort or pride in their environment or local area - as demonstrated by the litter and general detritus left lying about throughout the estate. Look at what happened to the wooden boarding that was put up to stop noise from the SDR ........no doubt there'll be more than one property with a cracking decking nearby. It seems like a perfect place to site them. Of course the school is worried...all their lovely new buildings, when all that copper and lead are removed, the buildings won't be quite so lovely anymore, let alone watertight.
Ringland is not a nice area. Hartridge is not a nice school. Travellers are not nice people to live nearby. Nobody takes any sort or pride in their environment or local area - as demonstrated by the litter and general detritus left lying about throughout the estate. Look at what happened to the wooden boarding that was put up to stop noise from the SDR ........no doubt there'll be more than one property with a cracking decking nearby. It seems like a perfect place to site them. Of course the school is worried...all their lovely new buildings, when all that copper and lead are removed, the buildings won't be quite so lovely anymore, let alone watertight. Jack Land
  • Score: -9

12:34pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Scyvingagain says...

Your not Bob Bright are you?
Your not Bob Bright are you? Scyvingagain
  • Score: -11

12:48pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Mwy Eira says...

Scyvingagain - You haven't been up there for sometime then.Perhaps you need to go there at 8.45 and 3.30. It is a busy road and there are serious concerns about safety for pupils attending both schools next door to the site.The access to the site is dangerous as both Llanwern High and Ysgol Cymraeg Casnewydd are next to the site and the road is a dead end. The evaluation of the site in terms of access was done during the school holidays. I wonder why? I can't help thinking that the people on here that are spouting racism etc are in favour of the HRF site purely because it means that it won't then be put next door to them. Not from Langstone are you? I hear they had a campaign to encourage its residents to accept the LDP to remove the risk to them of the site be putting in Langstone.
Scyvingagain - You haven't been up there for sometime then.Perhaps you need to go there at 8.45 and 3.30. It is a busy road and there are serious concerns about safety for pupils attending both schools next door to the site.The access to the site is dangerous as both Llanwern High and Ysgol Cymraeg Casnewydd are next to the site and the road is a dead end. The evaluation of the site in terms of access was done during the school holidays. I wonder why? I can't help thinking that the people on here that are spouting racism etc are in favour of the HRF site purely because it means that it won't then be put next door to them. Not from Langstone are you? I hear they had a campaign to encourage its residents to accept the LDP to remove the risk to them of the site be putting in Langstone. Mwy Eira
  • Score: 11

1:07pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Scyvingagain says...

I have been down there. That's the trouble with most anti-site campaigns. Any valid concerns get lost amidst all the racism. Not that I think that it is a valid concern that should shelve the whole project. Road widening and speed bumps are an option and many, many schools are next to main roads with far more traffic than Hartridge Farm Road will have - even after a site.
The school's submission had racist content and the petitions that generated 14,000 signatures had racist content and Ringland Matters had links to both.. Tata Steel Strip Products consultation submission wasn't racist - and that is to their credit, particularly as they belong toTata Steel - an Indian multinational.
Tata Steel did object to the site though - on procedural and size grounds.
The thing is - I have been involved with countless proposals and there has always, without fail, been an influential group of people who will give you any number of perfectly reasonable sounding reasons - including concerns for the safety of the poor ickle Traveller children - as to why they shouldn't have those bloody Gypsies anywhere near them. Forgive me if I sound cynical - but what matters most is that these sites move on from the intermiable planning/arguing stage and are actually DELIVERED.
The Travelling life is more or less over. Gypsies and Travellers need somewhere to settle. Somewhere... Newport Council and the Welsh Government are attempting to do the right thing.
I have been down there. That's the trouble with most anti-site campaigns. Any valid concerns get lost amidst all the racism. Not that I think that it is a valid concern that should shelve the whole project. Road widening and speed bumps are an option and many, many schools are next to main roads with far more traffic than Hartridge Farm Road will have - even after a site. The school's submission had racist content and the petitions that generated 14,000 signatures had racist content and Ringland Matters had links to both.. Tata Steel Strip Products consultation submission wasn't racist - and that is to their credit, particularly as they belong toTata Steel - an Indian multinational. Tata Steel did object to the site though - on procedural and size grounds. The thing is - I have been involved with countless proposals and there has always, without fail, been an influential group of people who will give you any number of perfectly reasonable sounding reasons - including concerns for the safety of the poor ickle Traveller children - as to why they shouldn't have those bloody Gypsies anywhere near them. Forgive me if I sound cynical - but what matters most is that these sites move on from the intermiable planning/arguing stage and are actually DELIVERED. The Travelling life is more or less over. Gypsies and Travellers need somewhere to settle. Somewhere... Newport Council and the Welsh Government are attempting to do the right thing. Scyvingagain
  • Score: -12

1:33pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Mwy Eira says...

I agree on that point about the Llanwern's submission. I was advised not to put anything like that in and keep it factual, such as access issues and safety concerns. The Llanmartin site was thrown out due to concerns over access and safety for the pupils at the primary school, yet this site is acceptable. Go figure.
I agree on that point about the Llanwern's submission. I was advised not to put anything like that in and keep it factual, such as access issues and safety concerns. The Llanmartin site was thrown out due to concerns over access and safety for the pupils at the primary school, yet this site is acceptable. Go figure. Mwy Eira
  • Score: 11

1:50pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Scyvingagain says...

Local politics? That's the trouble with sites. That's the trouble with most elected members. Site proposals quickly become a massive football for local politicians to start playing with. The amount of newspaper columns, special meetings, campaign groups, planning reports, expert advisors, petitions, TV inserts and radio phone in rants generated by one tiny minute part of the Local Development Plan in any given Council is mind boggling and a little bit scary. My concern as always are that these sites are built SOMEWHERE. At the moment two of the families are stuck in limbo-land of unauthorised encampments in industrial areas. Once you have some rights - then you can excercise responsibility and face the same penalties that everyone else faces if you make the wrong choices. We all have the right to exist somewhere.
Mike
Local politics? That's the trouble with sites. That's the trouble with most elected members. Site proposals quickly become a massive football for local politicians to start playing with. The amount of newspaper columns, special meetings, campaign groups, planning reports, expert advisors, petitions, TV inserts and radio phone in rants generated by one tiny minute part of the Local Development Plan in any given Council is mind boggling and a little bit scary. My concern as always are that these sites are built SOMEWHERE. At the moment two of the families are stuck in limbo-land of unauthorised encampments in industrial areas. Once you have some rights - then you can excercise responsibility and face the same penalties that everyone else faces if you make the wrong choices. We all have the right to exist somewhere. Mike Scyvingagain
  • Score: -13

2:19pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Votefornoneoftheabove says...

Just for reference I am neither an ex or present councillor, just a resident from the Ringland area.

I am neither racist or anti traveller. I am descended from a group of travellers that settled in Newport a long time ago. I don't need to write these comments to justify myself but wanted to point them out. My grandfather would turn in his grave if he thought I was anti traveller.

As for the nimby comments, well perhaps there is a little truth in that, not just from me but every resident from every proposed site so far. Bettws said no, Langstone said no and asked it's own residents to support the site at Ringland. the Celtic Manor said no to the A449. So me a nimby well yes I suppose I am, but what about the rest?.

The only issue being that my comments reference the area being classed as potential for flooding are not made up but on the environment agency website. Traffic issues again are not made up there is major congestion for the area the site is intended.

It always is sad when you put together an argument based on facts such as the environment agency website and the fact that the area is a busy one, someone always comes along and throws in accusations or racism.

I am about to turn on my TV now and watch my box collections of, Love Thy Neighbour, Till Death Us Do Part and It Ain't Half Hot Mum. Perhaps then I can sit down after all that and read the EDL manifesto.

I can then go to the SDR take down some wooden fencing and throw on my log burner.

Unbelievable !
Just for reference I am neither an ex or present councillor, just a resident from the Ringland area. I am neither racist or anti traveller. I am descended from a group of travellers that settled in Newport a long time ago. I don't need to write these comments to justify myself but wanted to point them out. My grandfather would turn in his grave if he thought I was anti traveller. As for the nimby comments, well perhaps there is a little truth in that, not just from me but every resident from every proposed site so far. Bettws said no, Langstone said no and asked it's own residents to support the site at Ringland. the Celtic Manor said no to the A449. So me a nimby well yes I suppose I am, but what about the rest?. The only issue being that my comments reference the area being classed as potential for flooding are not made up but on the environment agency website. Traffic issues again are not made up there is major congestion for the area the site is intended. It always is sad when you put together an argument based on facts such as the environment agency website and the fact that the area is a busy one, someone always comes along and throws in accusations or racism. I am about to turn on my TV now and watch my box collections of, Love Thy Neighbour, Till Death Us Do Part and It Ain't Half Hot Mum. Perhaps then I can sit down after all that and read the EDL manifesto. I can then go to the SDR take down some wooden fencing and throw on my log burner. Unbelievable ! Votefornoneoftheabove
  • Score: 12

3:22pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Scyvingagain says...

The racist sentiments are there for everyone to see. That's why the school retracted those comments. The petition reads: "Because of parents' perception of traveller sites, rightly or wrongly, it would undermine the Council's strategy of improving education in the east of the city." Newport commercial estate agents are on record saying that droves of businessess would either relocate or not set up in the first place. If this was true, which it is usually invariably not, then that would at least solve the congestion problem...Yet, seriously, I know of many well managed sites that have become embedded in their local communities (either self-managed private family sites or council managed larger sites) once all the planning hoo-ha has died down and the instigators of highly professionalised and racism-tinged anti-site campaigns have wandered off to kick at some other easy target in a bid to gain political capital.
If campaigners wanted impact, maybe they should be pressurising the council to ensure the road is updated, drainage is sorted out for the claimed flooding risk (didn't stop them building the school) the site is well managed by the council with a Travellers Site Residents Association (yes- they do exist) engaging and being engaged by other local community groups and public institutions. It can be done. I have seen it happen.
The racist sentiments are there for everyone to see. That's why the school retracted those comments. The petition reads: "Because of parents' perception of traveller sites, rightly or wrongly, it would undermine the Council's strategy of improving education in the east of the city." Newport commercial estate agents are on record saying that droves of businessess would either relocate or not set up in the first place. If this was true, which it is usually invariably not, then that would at least solve the congestion problem...Yet, seriously, I know of many well managed sites that have become embedded in their local communities (either self-managed private family sites or council managed larger sites) once all the planning hoo-ha has died down and the instigators of highly professionalised and racism-tinged anti-site campaigns have wandered off to kick at some other easy target in a bid to gain political capital. If campaigners wanted impact, maybe they should be pressurising the council to ensure the road is updated, drainage is sorted out for the claimed flooding risk (didn't stop them building the school) the site is well managed by the council with a Travellers Site Residents Association (yes- they do exist) engaging and being engaged by other local community groups and public institutions. It can be done. I have seen it happen. Scyvingagain
  • Score: -7

5:18pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Votefornoneoftheabove says...

There you go again, "racism-tinged anti-site campaigns "

So anyone against the proposal is, " racism - tinged" is that what I am? Is that all you are going to say, so everyone of the 14000 signatures against the site are "tinged with racism".

Your next comments, " claimed flooding risk (didn't stop them building the school)"

Go and have a look again and look at the topography of the land, Llanwern is built at a much higher level than the proposed travellers sites. You have to drive up to the school then drive down to the travellers site.

The comments I make are not claimed use the following link:http://watermap
s.environment-agency
.gov.uk/wiyby/wiyby.
aspx?lang=_e&topic=u
fmfsw&layer=0&x=3354
77&y=187908&scale=10
&location=NP18+2YE#x
=335156&y=187949&sca
le=11.

Or simply log onto the environment agency website and type in Llanwern Schools postcode NP18 2YE. Look at the PDF map and then reply back to me if my comments are "claimed" or based on fact.

Now forgive my geographical skills but when I went to Hartridge I am sure that we were told that water flowed down hill. If you compare the land you will see that it is much similar to the land that runs along the SDR where the old Ringland Workmens club once stood.

I am not going to go into access issues, there is no argument, you only have to live in the area to understand this. Local schools in Alway, Ringland, Milton and St Gabriels have issues with parking on a daily basis.

Right then I am off to watch 12 Years A Slave to catch up on my racist beliefs with my other 14000 friends, Do Me A Favour!!!
There you go again, "racism-tinged anti-site campaigns " So anyone against the proposal is, " racism - tinged" is that what I am? Is that all you are going to say, so everyone of the 14000 signatures against the site are "tinged with racism". Your next comments, " claimed flooding risk (didn't stop them building the school)" Go and have a look again and look at the topography of the land, Llanwern is built at a much higher level than the proposed travellers sites. You have to drive up to the school then drive down to the travellers site. The comments I make are not claimed use the following link:http://watermap s.environment-agency .gov.uk/wiyby/wiyby. aspx?lang=_e&topic=u fmfsw&layer=0&x=3354 77&y=187908&scale=10 &location=NP18+2YE#x =335156&y=187949&sca le=11. Or simply log onto the environment agency website and type in Llanwern Schools postcode NP18 2YE. Look at the PDF map and then reply back to me if my comments are "claimed" or based on fact. Now forgive my geographical skills but when I went to Hartridge I am sure that we were told that water flowed down hill. If you compare the land you will see that it is much similar to the land that runs along the SDR where the old Ringland Workmens club once stood. I am not going to go into access issues, there is no argument, you only have to live in the area to understand this. Local schools in Alway, Ringland, Milton and St Gabriels have issues with parking on a daily basis. Right then I am off to watch 12 Years A Slave to catch up on my racist beliefs with my other 14000 friends, Do Me A Favour!!! Votefornoneoftheabove
  • Score: 5

5:41pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Scyvingagain says...

Ok - watch what you like. The campaign materials contain racist sentiments. You can't deny that. I'm only pointing out what is there. I havn't actually called you a racist, just pointed out that the campaign contains racist statements in its publicity. So - racist tinged anti site campaign it is. I did say that the Tata Steel submission wasn't racist - that's because it doesn't contain racist sentiments and sticks to planning and environment issues.
Ok - watch what you like. The campaign materials contain racist sentiments. You can't deny that. I'm only pointing out what is there. I havn't actually called you a racist, just pointed out that the campaign contains racist statements in its publicity. So - racist tinged anti site campaign it is. I did say that the Tata Steel submission wasn't racist - that's because it doesn't contain racist sentiments and sticks to planning and environment issues. Scyvingagain
  • Score: -4

6:11pm Tue 11 Feb 14

The home true says...

I Think some individuals expressing there views here need to understand that Gypsy & Travellers have human rights.... as you do also.
These human rights entitle everyone to access basic life needs like water for example and so on.
So we'll done to the Welsh government For providing a policy that will lean on councils to provide these basic rights and a place to call home.
To all the council members who disagreed the sites shame on you...why would anyone vote for someone who doesn't truly believe in equalities..and good luck in your quest to find the humble door mouse or An extinct wasp in Hartridge....
We do live in a multicultural society in the UK and the truth about the situation is that narrow minded people know more about vikings and fairy's than that do about our culture or any of us as people to be honest you probably don't want to know... I hope that changes......yep that's right I'm a Traveller from Newport And I would love for my children to have a full education and access to the basic things that an full address can provide ,good health care, Bank Account, exs. . This would mean a good future for everyone who doesn't want the best for there family. .
I Think some individuals expressing there views here need to understand that Gypsy & Travellers have human rights.... as you do also. These human rights entitle everyone to access basic life needs like water for example and so on. So we'll done to the Welsh government For providing a policy that will lean on councils to provide these basic rights and a place to call home. To all the council members who disagreed the sites shame on you...why would anyone vote for someone who doesn't truly believe in equalities..and good luck in your quest to find the humble door mouse or An extinct wasp in Hartridge.... We do live in a multicultural society in the UK and the truth about the situation is that narrow minded people know more about vikings and fairy's than that do about our culture or any of us as people to be honest you probably don't want to know... I hope that changes......yep that's right I'm a Traveller from Newport And I would love for my children to have a full education and access to the basic things that an full address can provide ,good health care, Bank Account, exs. . This would mean a good future for everyone who doesn't want the best for there family. . The home true
  • Score: 1

11:19pm Tue 11 Feb 14

MikeD4 says...

Get in touch with the Traveller Movement.
Get in touch with the Traveller Movement. MikeD4
  • Score: 0

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