Work is well underway to build our first site for travellers at Haldon, nextdoor to the current unauthorised site. The ground and tree clearance was completed earlier in the year along with connections to utilities such as water and electric. Work on the hardstandings and amenity blocks is now in progress.
Since it was first occupied in August 2001 the site has been unauthorised but tolerated by local authorities, including 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 £1.1m.
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 nine-month sensitively phased programme of construction work is creating a 15-pitch site next door to the current and unauthorised traveller site. It 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 project will give those residents who want a pitch at the new site access to suitable utilities including toilets, showers, power, bin stores and recycling facilities. People who move on to the neighbouring new site will sign an agreement to lease a pitch, pay rent and Council Tax. We will employ a site manager who will deal with any issues if they arise.
Cllr Philip Vogel, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive Spokesperson for Housing and Planning, said:
“All the hard work is paying off and we are pleased that work has started. It’s been a long and sensitive process. There will be challenges ahead – as there always are when embarking on something new – but we are confident that, through working with the site’s residents and all our partner agencies, we can create a safe and sustainable that meets people’s needs.”
Mike Hanrahan of Teign Housing said:
“We are looking forward to making a really good and well managed site for travellers. We hope that by seeing the site take shape, it will reassure the travellers and the public that this is the right way forward and that it will restore and enhance this area of Haldon forest.”
Asad Butt, HCA Area Manager, said:
“We welcome the progress that has been made to start work on a new scheme for travellers in Haldon, which will provide improved accommodation for the people living at the current site.
“This investment is part of a wider programme that provides new and better accommodation for travellers across England. It is good news that partners have made positive steps to enable work to start.”
The unauthorised site is on land owned by Devon County Council. It has long been considered unsuitable for those who live there, the local environment and surrounding communities. It will close on the day the new encampment opens.
Who will live there?
The site will be 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.
Teignbridge and Devon County Council will work with residents who do not want to move to the new site to look at other housing options. If they remain on the unauthorised site after the closing date, enforcement action will be taken if necessary.
Feedback and keeping you up-to-date
We will keep you up-to-date with this project and our other developments through our website. We always welcome feedback from all of our customers, potential customers and the public. If you would like to give us your feedback, please do so through our online contact form