HCA allocates £1.8m towards gypsy sites in region

Michael Hunt

The Homes & Communities Agency has announced that the North West has been allocated £1.8m for gypsy and traveller sites.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is to receive £1,541,000 to provide twelve pitches in total at a site yet to be determined and Lancashire County Council has been awarded £278,362 to refurbish fifteen pitches and provide two new pitches in Preston.

Funding is awarded to local authorities and housing associations to provide new social rented sites and to help pay for the refurbishment of existing social rented sites for gypsies and travellers.

Deborah McLaughlin, North West regional director at the HCA, said: "The aim of the grant programme is to increase the number and quality of authorised sites throughout England. Roughly a quarter of all gypsy and traveller caravans have no authorised site, despite a desire by their owners to have a permanent base. With greater access to high standard, well managed sites, residents will have a more sustainable community base to help provide an improved quality of life."

The Homes & Communities Agency is managing the gypsy and traveller sites grant programme for 2009/2010 and 2010/2011. The HCA's role is to promote and manage the bidding rounds, and the funding and evaluation of schemes.

The bidding round for the gypsy and traveller site grant 2010/2011 has now opened and the application forms have been updated to reflect the experience gained from the previous round.

Robert Napier, chairman of the Homes & Communities Agency, added: "Helping to ensure that more people have a roof over their heads is a commitment the agency takes very seriously. This next bidding round will see more of the Gypsy and Traveller population housed in decent accommodation on authorised sites with access to amenities and facilities, leading to an enhanced quality of life."

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