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£1.34m for more traveller pitches

PUBLISHED: 15:14 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 July 2010

HOPES have been raised that unauthorised traveller encampments will become a thing of the past in Great Yarmouth after Norfolk County Council was given a grant of £1.

HOPES have been raised that unauthorised traveller encampments will become a thing of the past in Great Yarmouth after Norfolk County Council was given a grant of £1.34m to improve the town's gipsy and traveller site.

The government grant will be used to provide six extra plots for caravans and vans across an area of land measuring 450sq m in addition to the established 18 plots in Gapton Hall Road.

In September, 16 caravans, cars and camper vans pitched up in the South Denes area on private land next to Monument Road while a further eight were reported along Bloomfield Road.

Jonathan Looker, facilities officer for travellers' sites with NPS Property Consultants, said: “Yarmouth typically tends to attract large numbers of gipsies. These measures are not going to alleviate the problem in peak season altogether, but we are doing something to try and alleviate the problem of unauthorised encampments.”

Trevor Wainwright, Labour county councillor for Breydon division, supported the measures and said: “Anything that reduces the number of unauthorised encampments is to be welcomed.”

As well as improving capacity, some of the cash will be spent on two new toilet blocks at each end of the site providing individual cubicles which each plot holder would have a key to so they no longer have to share toilet facilities with other families and each cubicle will have a washbasin.

Each block will boast four communal showers and the council also plans to add a children's play area.

Mr Looker said the new plots would measure 15m by 30m and would be large enough to accommodate a 26ft long caravan and a transit van while space would also be provided for lorry parking.

The investment by the government's communities and local government department was announced last Friday as part of a £6.9m grant for traveller sites in the eastern region which aims to provide four new sites, extend two others and support the refurbishment of 12 sites.

The East of England Regional Assembly has recommended that an extra 15 pitches are found in the Yarmouth borough to cope with the influx of travellers.

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