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Plan to meet pitch demand

UK, 26.2.2007 17:54, (Cambs Time)

FENLAND has the highest number of gypsy and traveller caravan pitches in the whole of Cambridgeshire, but 180 more will still be needed in the next five years.

This was the finding of a new research study, which also said that, in all, an additional 383 pitches would be needed across the whole of the county.

The study was complied by a consortium of researchers from three universities and forms part of a review being undertaken by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) to identify the number of additional pitches required across the region.

It has been estimated from government figures, collected in 2006, that there are 689 pitches on authorised sites and 151 on unauthorised sites in Cambridgeshire.

Of those 255 authorised pitches are in Fenland along with 42 unauthorised sites.

South Cambridgeshire has the second highest number of legal pitches with 242 and 120 still needed.

In Peterborough there are 82 legal pitches and 13 more are needed by 2011.

Pat Niner, from Birmingham University, who led the research study, said: "The case study suggests that there is inadequate provisions for gypsies and travellers in the East of England region, leading to the problem of unauthorised sites.

"It is therefore important that more caravan pitches are provided to ensure that the travelling community, who are among the most deprived groups in the population, have a decent place to live."

The findings of the research will be published soon, and will be considered by the EERA's regional planning panel at a meeting next month.

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