Our travellers site at Haldon officially opened on Friday 5 December. So far, ten pitches have been taken by families and couples. The remaining five are being held back so any residents living on the current site, and have not yet come forward, have the opportunity to accept a pitch if they want one. It means there is less risk of them being left homeless because the option is still there.
Any pitches that remain unfilled will be advertised on Devon Home Choice.
The unofficial site will formally close on Monday 8 December when Teignbridge District Council will inspect the site to assess the situation. If people are still there, or refuse to leave, Teignbridge will start legal proceedings to gain a court order to have the site cleared. The hearing date will depend on court availability. The unofficial site will be secured during this time so that no one else can move on.
Once the new site is up and running and the old site is cleared of people, the old site will be cleaned up and turned back into woodland. We hope this work will start early 2015.
Since it was first occupied in August 2001 the site has been unauthorised but tolerated by local authorities, including he previous land owner Devon County Council (DCC) and planning authority Teignbridge District Council (TDC). It has however been in need of a long term solution and we worked with Devon County Council and Teignbridge District Council in their bid for funding for a formal site. The formal site will be funded by a Homes and Community Agency (HCA) grant worth £1.115million.
Teignbridge District Council are now the landowner and we manage the site. We have a strong culture of recognising the individual needs of a diverse community. As Teignbridge’s main housing association, we are committed to meeting local housing needs and managing a permanent site for travellers will be an exciting and challenging new direction for us as a business. This site follows years of work to find a suitable and healthy solution for site residents, nearby communities, the wider Haldon area and all local authorities.
The site now provides travellers suitable utilities including toilets, showers, power, bin stores and recycling facilities. Those who live there have signed an agreement to lease a pitch, pay rent, service charges, water rates and Council Tax. We employ a site manager who will deal with any issues if they arise.
Who lives there?
The site is for New Travellers rather than Romany or Irish Travellers. New Travellers originate mainly from the settled British population who started to form in the 1970’s. You may hear people referring to this group of people as ‘New Age Travellers’, but the correct term is now ‘New Travellers’.
Many New Travellers are employed, self-employed or live a self-sufficient lifestyle so that they can provide for their own day-to-day needs. Quite often New Travellers will combine flexible paid work with the practical jobs they do to maintain their home.