Provisional plans to upgrade an unauthorised traveller site in Haldon could see a smaller, well-managed permanent facility for gypsies and travellers.
This site, which is located on woodland owned by Devon County Council in Haldon forest between the A380 and A38, has been a ‘tolerated’ unauthorised site for several years. Many of the residents on the site have local connections and work or have children attending school locally.
Now discussions are underway which could see the land transferred to Teignbridge District Council, enabling local housing association Teign Housing to develop and manage the site. The precise number of pitches will be determined through the consultation and planning process, but it is likely to be smaller and include appropriate utilities such as toilets, showers and power.
Both councils have expressed their support in principle for the idea, though it would be subject to planning permission, appropriate site design and consultation with residents living on the site. This process got underway this week, as officers from the councils visited the site to speak with residents and find out more about the families who are living there.
Teignbridge District Council and Teign Housing have the opportunity to apply for national funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government in order to develop the site, and it is hoped that an application will be submitted by the end of April. The plan would also require a formal decision by Devon County Council to sell the land, subject to valuation.
Across the county there is a requirement within the draft Regional Spatial Strategy for District Councils to provide a total of 225 new pitches to accommodate the number of Gypsies and Travellers currently without anywhere secure to stay. Teignbridge District Council has a requirement to help create 65 new permanent pitches, and so far 17 pitches have been granted planning permission around the district.
(from a press release)