By Matthew Gooding
Thursday, January 10, 2013
TWO extra pitches will be added to a travellers’ site in Crow country when it is given a £1.4 million facelift later this year.
South Cambridgeshire district council has received a £1.1 million grant from the Homes and Communities Agency to invest in traveller accomodation. It will be spent on freshening up the site in Whaddon.
There are 14 pitches at the site, each of which will be equipped with a day room, while shower and toilet blocks, which were built in the 1980s, will be updated.
The investment will also allow heating to be installed in the utility blocks as none currently exists, with the two extra pitches to be added through better use of the land.
To secure the funding, the council itself will also have to invest £300,000 in the site, and a report proposing this will be put to its cabinet when it meets on Monday, January 14. It will also need to gain approval from the full council when it meets in February.
Cllr Mark Howell, cabinet member for housing at the district council, said: “It is good news we have secured the central government funding as without investment the site would start to deteriorate very quickly.
“We are proud that the sites we run work very well and making sure facilities are of the highest quality is important to the people living there as well as their neighbours.
“The worst result for all parties would be if the site was not invested in now as we might then face the prospect of it not being habitable in the future and we would need to find accommodation for the families living at the site elsewhere in the district.”
The report also states the district council’s commitment to continuing to run the sites at Whaddon and Blackwell, off the A14 just outside Cambridge. But it has shelved plans to purchase the sites, as Cambridgeshire County Council, which owns both, is reviewing whether to sell them.
As reported in the Crow last year, the district council had also planned to buy the county council-owned Mettle Hill site in Meldreth, which is currently closed, and reopen it to provide extra pitches. However, in the face of widespread public opposition, these proposals were scuppered when Meldreth Parish Council made a rival bid for the land.
Work at Whaddon could begin in the summer, subject to councillors’ approval.