'Dismay' at conditions at Meynell's Gorse travellers' site

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Media captionThe government is investing £1.4m to upgrade and modernise the Meynell's Gorse site in Leicester

Councillors are "dismayed" at conditions at a Leicester travellers' site and say action is needed to address problems there.

The government is investing £1.4m to upgrade and modernise the Meynell's Gorse site.

But a city council report says this money will be "largely wasted" unless relationships between site managers and residents significantly improve.

People living at the site did not want to talk to the BBC.

However, Carlym Quantrill, a former city councillor who knows the community well, said she supported the report's recommendations.

"I would want them to keep the foot on the pedal and actually now implement the recommendations, but do so with the active involvement of the residents of this site, and indeed the prospective residents of the two new sites which should be being built," she said.

The council is developing new sites at Red Hill Way and Greengate Lane, due to be used next year.

Image caption Several children at the site were found to be not attending school

Problems at Meynell's Gorse identified in the report include:

  • Several children are not attending school, and home schooling is not viable because of a lack of basic literacy and numeracy skills among adults.
  • Evidence of abandoned vehicles and fly-tipping.
  • The area near the entrance was "comparatively orderly", while the other was "in a much more unkempt and challenging condition, both in terms of its physical condition and the attitude and behaviour of residents".
  • A "significant breakdown" in relationships between many residents, housing staff and the Multi-Agency Travellers Unit (MATU).

Recommendations include:

  • Using part of the £1.4m government grant to improve site layout, roads, landscaping and the physical state of homes.
  • Reinstating the site office/community centre, and making it suitable for education classes.
  • Installing CCTV to prevent fly-tipping and unauthorised or unlawful commercial activities.
  • A strategy to improve relationships between residents and site management staff.
  • Having clear and tidy refuse collection points.
  • Appoint a multi-skilled team with experience in housing, social and welfare issues to serve all three travellers' sites.

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