Travellers will get 11 new pitches

NEW accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers is to be created in south east Northumberland through government funding.

Facilities will be provided through the investment by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The HCA has allocated £311,285 to Northumberland County Council for 11 new pitches.

The county says the location of these has not yet been decided and it will consult with parish councils and other organisations.

It currently has sites at Lynemouth and Hartford Bridge near Bedlington.

Kevin Lowry, interim head of housing services at the county, said: “This funding will help the council to discharge its statutory duty to meet the needs of homeless people, including the travelling community.

“No location has been agreed yet for the new pitches and we will be working with parish councils and other stakeholders to identify a suitable transit site.”

The funding was recently announced by communities minister Andrew Stunell as part of a £47m package that will provide hundreds of new authorised pitches as well as better facilities for Travellers on official sites across the country.

Mr Stunell said: “This funding will help provide sites in a way that reflects local need in consultation with the local community.

“It will assist hundreds of families and find sites where they want to live and foster better relations with the existing communities and councils.

“We are ending the failed system where Whitehall attempted to dictate where sites went.

“Instead we have brought back fairness to communities and putting Travellers and the settled population on a level playing field.

“New authorised sites, with the support of local communities, will be treated on an equal footing as new bricks and mortar homes, with councils getting powerful financial benefits for building authorised sites where they are needed.”