Wiltshire

Wiltshire traveller sites receive £3.5m of government money

Nearly £3.5m of government funding has been awarded to the council for official traveller sites in Wiltshire.

It comes after UK councils were invited to bid for a portion of £60m of government funding overseen by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The aim is to help traveller communities with better facilities and reduce unauthorised sites.

Twenty new pitches will be created in the county and 40 existing ones will be improved.

'Foster better relations'

Toby Sturgis, cabinet member for planning at Wiltshire Council, said: "As a council we are committed to providing appropriate sites for Gypsies and travellers and reducing the problem of illegal encampments.

"This funding from the government will help to address these issues and provide our traveller and Gypsy communities with suitable, safe sites on legally approved land.

"It is vital we improve provision in Wiltshire, and to have it funded by the government means less pressure on the council's own budget."

Communities minister Andrew Stunell said the money would help hundreds of traveller families find sites and "foster better relations with the existing communities and councils".

"New authorised sites, with the support of local communities, will be treated on an equal footing as new bricks-and-mortar homes, with councils getting powerful financial benefits for building authorised sites where they are needed."

After successful bids elsewhere in the West, the Matrix Housing Partnership has been awarded £1.7m in funding for 38 new pitches in Gloucestershire, Bristol City Council will receive £600,000 for 12 new pitches and North Somerset Council will receive £134,000 for two new pitches.

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