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Ask The Experts About Moving Home

Mar 29, 2008
If anyone knows about moving home, it has to be gypsies.

Gypsies, Romanies, travellers - whatever you want to call them, they are the true experts on moving home - literally. They pack up their entire belongings as we all do when moving home but they also take their homes with them.

Not for them is the constant decorating and making the place your own. Not for them is the process of making the place smell like yours. Not for them is the tedious business of finding a home for all our belongings and the constant door opening to remember where you put things.

The only thing to change when moving home for these people is the view. And that's a big advantage they have over the average house dweller. We can shop around for a new house with its extra bedroom, study, swimming pool (I wish!) and room for a pony but we very rarely dictate the view unless we build from scratch. Even then we hold no sway over landscape changes in the future.

We can choose our own plot in the middle of the countryside, build a beautiful home equipped with all mod cons and everything we need. We can ensure it faces South to capture as much sunlight as possible. We can landscape the gardens. What we cannot do is stop this government of ours planting a four lane motorway smack in the middle of our view in years to come.

Gypsies do not have this problem. If their landscape changes, or they just get bored with it, they think nothing of upping sticks and moving home again.

And both the above scenarios have happened in the picturesque Warwickshire countryside of late. In an ironic move, Olympic minister Tessa Jowell has found herself with new neighbours living less than 200 yards away. After controversial arrangements by the minister to force gypsies from their base in Hackney and Newham in preparation for the 2012 Olympics, she has found herself unable to alter her view across the fields of a new gypsy camp that has come about over Easter.

Gypsies clubbed together to buy a two and a half acre plot of land, apparently not knowing that the minister lived nearby, and moved onto it on Good Friday in the knowledge that local authorities would be on holiday and not around to stop them.

Of course, the land does belong to them but they do not have permission to set up a permanent camp. Despite this, they were very quick to install water supplies and electric cables as well as putting down hardcore bases for each of the 16 families expected to settle there.

With a total of 64 caravans, 3 diggers and a fleet of lorries, the area has been turned into a veritable building site much to the annoyance of local residents. They are concerned that the crime rate will go up and house prices will go down. This, say the gypsies, is blatant stereotyping of travellers and they claim to be hardworking and honest members of society simply looking for a place to call home.

Maybe the minister will consider moving home herself now but will the new residents alter the 1 pounds million price tag that she herself paid? This is a concern that all house dwellers in the area have at the back of their minds and some of them have been extremely outspoken about the debate, voicing concerns that they will no longer feel safe in their own homes.

This maybe a tad harsh against the travellers and I guess it's just a case of wait and see.
About the Author
Property expert Catherine Harvey looks at the way travellers have perfected the art of moving home in the UK.
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