Framework has opened its first gypsy and traveller site of five pitches in rural Leicestershire to accommodate an extended family who had been living on the roadside close to the site for over 20 years.
The £562,000 scheme benefited from HCA funding of £440,000 from the agency’s Traveller Pitch Fund, with the remainder coming from Framework.
Framework took advice on the project from a wide range of agencies including Rooftop Housing, who are leaders in the delivery of traveller accommodation in the Midlands.
A timber-frame solution for the amenity buildings was developed, clad primarily in brick, with some fibre cement boarding at higher levels. Each pitch comprises the amenity building (containing a bathroom/wc, kitchen, living room and storage), together with garden space, a shed, parking for two vehicles, and space for a mobile home plus one touring caravan, or two touring caravans.
The site’s isolated location presented additional challenges to delivery with the re-routing of a water supply from 800 metres away and amendments to the road layout at the site entrance to comply with planning conditions.
The land, provided on a 60-year lease at a peppercorn rent by the County Council, had been earmarked for some time before the crucial HCA funding became available.
Framework designed the scheme in consultation with the family themselves, with input from the Leicester and Leicestershire Multi-Agency Traveller Unit (MATUand the local authority’s site licensing officer. It also attended a number of meetings with the Parish Council to explain the proposals and address any local concerns.
Framework’s chief executive, Andrew Redfern said: “We are really pleased to see how well this development fits into the local landscape and most importantly, how well it meets the needs of this family group who have lived in very poor conditions for many years. Developing traveller pitches is complex, and time-consuming, and can only realistically be achieved with funding support and a strong commitment to delivery on the part of local agencies. We are very grateful to the HCA and to everyone who has helped us complete this development.”
Holly Harrow, area manager for the HCA who worked with Framework on the project said: “This has undoubtedly been a challenging project to deliver but has made a huge difference to the lives of the families involved. We have worked closely with Framework and they have really embraced support from a range of organisations to ensure they got the funding and expertise to deliver.”