Extra pitches planned to meet community’s needs and to improve health

An Executive report being discussed by councillors today will consider how the Council can fulfil its responsibilities to the city’s Gypsy and Traveller Communities on various sites across the city.
The Council is landlord for sites at James Street, Osbaldwick and Clifton on which it collects rent for 61 pitches.

The draft Local Plan identifies further unmet need for additional pitches, due to be delivered mainly on major new housing sites as well as on existing Council-managed sites.  Importantly, the Planning Inspectorate examining York’s draft Local Plan has asked the Council to demonstrate how it will deliver these pitches.

Of the new pitches required overall during the Plan period, the Council is expected to deliver 23 sites on its existing or new sites, 13 of which will be paid for by developer Section 106 contributions.

Today’s report considers the investment required both to deliver new Council pitches and to make necessary improvements to existing Council-managed sites. This investment will be made following consultation, and in collaboration, with York’s Gypsy and Traveller communities and York Travellers’ Trust.

In addition to pitches being provided by the Council, the Local Plan has also identified a further 21 pitches to be provided by the private sector on new strategic sites across the Plan period.

Cllr Michael Pavlovic, Executive Member for Housing at City of York Council, said:

“Accommodation is one area where we can help address inequalities experienced by our Gypsy and Traveller communities by ensuring we meet their needs. Alongside that, we must build on existing good work and take a holistic approach which includes appropriate investment in improved and sufficient accommodation, in the same way we invest in all other types of accommodation we collect rent for.

“We recognise concerns expressed by Gypsy and Traveller communities, specifically about the Osbaldwick site, which requires investment. Our proposals will meet Local Plan requirements by using forward funding which can be recouped through Section 106 payments made by developers at a later stage.

“This work is key to Gypsy and Traveller community wellbeing and will help ensure the Local Plan can progress to adoption.  Only by ensuring the Local Plan is adopted can we start to make the real progress required to meet the needs of all our residents”.