Bid for £337k grant to do up Preston’s only official travellers' site

Preston's only official traveller site could be given a £337,000 refurbishment paid for by the Government.

By Brian Ellis
Friday, 24th June 2022, 3:45 pm

The city council has applied for a share of a £10m fund to improve facilities for the travelling community across the country.

If the bid for the Leighton Street site is successful its residents, some of whom have lived there since it was first opened three decades ago, will see their facilities upgraded, including the addition of a new utility block.

Read More

Read More
Preston traveller site saved for families after deal between councils
Leighton Street Travellers' Site could be in line for a makeover.

The application comes just weeks after the council took over ownership from County Hall, a move welcomed by a residents' co-operative which now looks after the site, adjacent to the University of Central Lancashire.

The Government's Traveller Site Fund was set up in March with a £10m budget "to enable local authorities in England to increase the provision and refurbishment of permanent sites, transit sites and temporary stopping places for travellers."

A report being submitted to the full council on Thursday says: "The primary strategic objective of the fund is to establish new sites, though the fund’s prospectus indicates that consideration will be given to applications that seek to refurbish existing sites."

Preston are hoping Leighton Street, just a quarter of a mile from the city centre, will qualify for refurbishment because of the length of time it has operated successfully.

Preston Council recently took charge of the site from LCC.

The council report goes on: "The rationale for submitting a bid was that if successful, and the works were carried out, the condition of the site would be improved and this would be of significant benefit to the residents as well as to the council as the new owner of the site.

"Site refurbishment and development would also underpin the sustainability of the new management arrangements with Leighton Street Travellers (LST) Ltd, the cooperative established to operate and manage the site."

Preston sees the arrangement at Leighton Street involving residents in managing the site as a model which could be used by other local authorities.

Amongst the work which would be funded by a grant would be "the removal of the education block on the site which is no longer in use as the community’s children attend local primary schools.

The site could get a new utility block as part of any upgrade.

"This would allow for an additional pitch and utility block to be established in its place, providing accommodation for another family and additional income for the cooperative."