Controversial Plymouth Traveller and Gypsy site gets go-ahead
WORK is to go ahead on a new permanent Gypsy and Traveller site on the edge of Efford in the Spring.
Plymouth City Council has been awarded £600,000 to build 10 pitches on the permanent residential site at Military Road.
The cash from the Homes and Communities Agency will go some way towards meeting the city's need for 50 Gypsy and Traveller pitches.
Providing permanent sites will also help to control unauthorised developments.
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The city earmarked the Military Road for a Gypsy and Traveller site in 2007, but was refused funding by the previous Government.
The Homes and Communities Agency has also awarded the council £550,000 to refurbish the existing site at The Ride near Chelson Meadow.
The programme of work will be developed to take into account recent flooding, a council spokeswoman said.
Some residents at The Ride were badly hit by November's floods.
A council spokeswoman said there had already been extensive public consultation over Military Road.
"Now council officers will meet with residents and local community groups and keep them informed about the progress of the scheme.
"Work is expected to start in late Spring next year."
Cllr Chris Penberthy, the city's Cabinet member for co-operatives and community development, said: "Gypsy and Traveller sites are always going to be a sensitive issue but winning this funding means we can press ahead with work to meet housing needs for our local Gypsy and Traveller community."
Clear procedures will be put in place to manage behaviour expectations, day-to-day issues and collecting rent, council tax and payment for services, the council said.
In 2011 the council also approved a transit site at Broadley Park in Roborough, near Belliver industrial estate.
Earlier this year the Government awarded the council £790,000 for that controversial project to build 15 pitches for Gypsies and Travellers passing through the city.
The council has now submitted a planning application for the transit site.
A third site approved in 2011, at Mowhay Road in St Budeaux, is not part of the latest funding award.
Last year there were 40 illegal encampments in Plymouth compared to an average of between 20 and 25 a year in previous years. Over the past five years there have been 33 unauthorised encampments within about two miles of the site at Broadley Park.
A quarter of the unauthorised encampments managed by Plymouth City Council are on land owned in the South Hams area.
The encampments cost the city council up to £300,000 a year in clean-up costs, and some cause significant problems for local residents.
New national policies could mean that councils will lose planning appeals when Gypsy and Traveller sites are set up on private land if they have not provided sufficient local sites.