Preston’s Leighton Street Traveller Site receives £337k for essential refurbishment and improvements
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Nine councils across England – including Preston – received a share of £10m from the Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC) Traveller Site Fund on Thursday (June 15).
The funding is helping to improve transit sites, so that travellers have authorised places to stay, as well as better access to facilities and services such as healthcare.
Councils are also using the funding to refurbish existing transit and permanent sites to help improve living conditions for residents.
Leader of Preston City Council, Coun Matthew Brown, said: “We are delighted to receive this much-needed funding.
“It means residents now have better access to energy on the site, giving them greater control, flexibility, and money saving options on their outgoing energy bills.”
The site was transferred from Lancashire County Council ownership to Preston City Council in May 2022.
The council has been working closely with the Leighton Street Cooperative on the introduction of a new cooperative management arrangement for the site.
The funding will help to refurbish and improve the condition of the site, including the upgrade of mechanical and electrical equipment required for the installation of domestic meters, giving the residents greater control over their energy bills and running costs of the site.
As members of the newly formed cooperative, residents of the Leighton Street site will also benefit from greater security of tenancy and more hands-on access to the estate management of their housing stock.
John Gavin, Leighton Street Co-operative Site Manager, said: “The funding to help improve the infrastructure on the site will mean a great deal to the residents as they will have more control of their monthly outgoings, helping them to budget more easily and improving the standard of living for everyone.”
Investing in sites means councils can reduce the number of unauthorised encampments in England.
This reduces enforcement costs for councils and assists both councils and local police in redirecting travellers from unauthorised sites.
Funding also helps support community cohesion between the settled community and travellers.
Improvements underway range from rebuilding through to new infrastructure dependent on need – including stabling for horses, improved utilities and play areas for children.