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New funding for authorised Gypsy and traveller sites

England, 6.2.2007 17:43, (Property People)

Three local authorities in the East of England have been awarded a total of L95,000 to help them improve living conditions on authorised Gypsy and traveller sites in the region.

The grant will support the refurbishment of seven sites.

This announcement follows a second round of bidding for Gypsy and traveller site grant in 2006/7. Overall this year the government has approved ?20.2 million of investment that will provide 140 additional pitches for Gypsies and travellers, and refurbish 76 sites.

Up to ?56 million is being made available through the grant between 2006-8 to provide new and refurbished sites, and tackle the problem of unauthorised camping. Schemes are subject to evaluation by both independent consultants and regional assemblies.

Communities Minister, Meg Munn, said: “By improving the provision of authorised sites, we can tackle the problem of unauthorised camping and ensure everyone has a decent place to live.

”The grant is vital in our drive to increase the number of authorised sites for Gypsies and travellers. Providing more authorised sites reduces the cost to taxpayers of costly enforcement action and creates a sustainable solution for the whole community.”

Bids were subject to a robust two stage assessment process against the following criteria:
* Does the scheme meet a clearly assessed need?
* Is the site sustainable?
* Does the scheme offer value for money?
* Is the scheme deliverable?

Regional assemblies then evaluated how bids fit with emerging regional priorities for Gypsy and traveller provision: for example, new provision in areas subject to high levels of unauthorised camping, and refurbishment of sites to ensure that they do not fall out of use.

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