With its leafy parks, historic churches and open fields, York offers a plethora of stunning sights for the York motorist. However, as you’re cruising down Field Lane, the statuesque beauty of Heslington East will often not be the only thing reflected in your rear-view mirror.
Traveller horses are a common sight by York’s roadsides, their tails swishing as they munch on kerbside grass. Their presence is widely recognised as a major issue, alongside the ongoing struggle to provide hospitable sites for their owners currently living on the three overcrowded traveller sites in Osbaldwick, James Street and Clifton. Built on the remnants of industrial estates, the sites are prone to vermin infestation posing a severe risk to the well-being of their inhabitants.
The City of York Council is now looking to tap into a £12.1 million fund (established to support the improvement of traveller pitches) for the benefit of the community. The aim is to support gypsy and traveller families who are currently waiting for sites to become available as they wait in a vulnerable position on the interim.
The repository financing the developments, The Traveller Pitch Fund, is part of a long held commitment from the government to provide sites for gypsy and traveller communities who want to preserve the traditional way of life.
Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing, cabinet member for Health, housing and Adult Social Services commented: “Government has a long-held housing policy to support the development and improvement of traveller pitches; to facilitate the traditional way of life of travellers while respecting the interests of the settled community” and that the council intends to “deliver tangible benefits to the York gypsy and traveller community and the communities they reside in, whilst cutting down on council enforcement, environmental and management costs.
The bidding round for the next round of Traveller Pitch Funding is now open. The council will be bidding for this funding in September and the first round of allocation decisions will be made in October 2012.