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Travellers’ sites in York may get bigger
A MAJOR expansion of York’s traveller sites could be on the way as City of York Council prepares to bid for cash from a £12 million Government fund.
The authority says an assessment carried out in 2008-09 identified the need for an additional 36 new pitches in the city.
But as well as funding the provision of new pitches, it says the money could also help tackle the problem of horses grazing on verges. There have been two road accidents in recent months after horses strayed on to the roads.
Asked to identify where the extra pitches would be sited on the city’s three existing sites, at Osbaldwick , James Street and Clifton – and whether there were also any plans for an additional site – a spokeswoman said there were no detailed plans just yet.
“However, options are being actively looked at as part of the bid and both the gipsy and traveller community and the communities they reside in will be consulted with throughout the process.”
But Independent Osbaldwick councillor Mark Warters said he understood that the authority was looking to buy additional land near the Osbaldwick site to incorporate an unknown number of additional pitches, along with a children’s amenity area, an area for animals and a permanent site office.
He said he thought the location near homes and businesses was totally unsuitable and vowed to fight any expansion all the way.
The council spokeswoman said the Government’s Traveller Pitch Fund was part of a long-held commitment to provide sites for gipsy and traveller communities who wanted to preserve their traditional way of life.
The authority would be bidding for the next round of funding in September, with the first round of allocation decisions due to be made in October.
Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing , said the funding would give the authority the opportunity to tackle recognised issues such as horses illegally grazing and being tethered by the roadside.
“It means we can start to deliver tangible benefits to the York gypsy and traveller community and the communities they reside in, whilst cutting down on council enforcement, environmental and management costs.”