THE Traveller’s Movement has reacted with outrage after a councillor branded a gipsy site in Corringham a “big, fat, gipsy cesspit”.
Mark Coxshall, councillor for Corringham and Fobbing, was speaking after Thurrock Council refused to grant the site planning permission last Thursday.
An enforcment notice will now be served but it is likely the Ward family, who settled on the Southend Road site over the Easter weekend, will appeal the decision and extend their stay.
Cllr Coxshall said: “The council has made a real mess of this by not nipping the issue in the bud at the start. Now they have not got their planning I am pleased, but this is not going to be a quick conclusion to the issue as I am sure this will go to appeal.
“The travellers have already started to bed in for a long stay. We all know what happens next, they start building walls and fences and we end up with a section of Stanford that looks like a cross between my big, fat, gipsy cesspit and Shameless.”
The comments angered the Traveller’s Movement, a charity which works to raise the capacity and social inclusion of the Irish Traveller community in Britain.
They dubbed the statement’s stereotyping as “racist” and vowed to lodge a complaint with Thurrock Council for a breach of the councillor’s code.
A spokesman said: “The traveller family in Corringham had a right to apply for planning permission in retrospect and they have a right to appeal if they wish. They have the same rights to engage with the planning system as anyone else.
“But whatever the merit of this particular case, Cllr Coxshall’s and Thurrock Conservative group’s outrageous comments about the application betrays the prejudice behind their opposition.
“To assume a traveller family will inevitably behave in stereotypical way depicted on a controversial gipsy reality show is racism, pure and simple.”
The spokesman added an increase in permanent and private sites means less need for councils to provide authorised sites and increases the number of ratepayers.