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South West Wiltshire Liberal Democrats

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Wiltshire gets cash for Gypsy sites

November 4, 2012 11:12 PM

The Homes and Communities Agency announced on Thursday 5th January 2012 that Wiltshire Council had been successful in its bid for funding to refurbish 40 pitches currently owned and managed by the council and to provide a further 20 pitches.

The Agency awarded £3.42million which has to be spent by March 2015. A Project Board and Project Delivery Group were established to deliver the project. The work started with a review of several of the existing sites.

The aim is to provide appropriate sites for Gypsies and travellers, with standards of accommodation on local authority sites being what the council describes as "equitable to that of the settled population".

The scheme should help reduce unauthorised Gypsy and traveller encampments and associated nuisance.

Since January Wiltshire Council has been working with residents on several of the existing council owned sites to agree new site plans and facilities.

The project has been revised downwards so just 10 new pitches will now be provided. The sites involved are:

- Lode Hill, Downton, 10 refurbished pitches and 2 additional pitches

- Fairhaven, Dilton Marsh, 7 refurbished pitches

- Thingley, Near Corsham, 23 refurbished pitches and 8 additional pitches

Following a six month period of consultation with the existing site residents and the relevant Town/Parish Councils, the revised site layouts have now been finalised and the project team are preparing to submit planning applications for each site.

After submission of the planning applications the team will appoint a construction partner through a competitive tender exercise with a view to starting on site in Spring 2013.

WC says that, "Successful completion of this project will bring these 3 sites up to an acceptable standard of living reducing the ongoing repairs and maintenance and making the sites more cost effective to manage on an ongoing basis. The additional pitches provided will enable the council to demonstrate it is working towards meeting the demand for additional pitches as outlined in the Core Strategy and will also assist the council in the management of planning and highways enforcements issues."