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10 January 2012, 13:20
Six million pounds is being spent reducing the number of unauthorised traveller sites across the East Midlands.
That includes £4.6 million for 56 new pitches across Leicestershire and £1.6 million for 20 in Bolsover, Derbyshire. This new support for official traveller pitches goes hand in hand with action against unauthorised traveller sites.
Through the Localism Act, the Government is introducing stronger powers for councils to tackle the abuse of retrospective planning permission. These strengthened powers are helping councils tackle any form of unauthorised development. The new authorised travellers sites will provide help to reduce the number of unauthorised sites, which create tensions between travellers and the settled community.
Ministers believe the previous system was ineffective because traveller site funding was allocated but often remained unspent. They also argue that by imposing top-down targets for traveller sites, local councils were compelled to encroach onto the Green Belt, leading to an increase in the number of unauthorised sites and seriously harming community relations.
Communities Minister Andrew 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 traveller families 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."