A cash injection of more than £1m will be pumped into modernising a Leeds travellers’ site.
Plans to refurbish the 41 permanent pitches for gypsies and travellers at Cottingley Springs got the go ahead from the city council’s executive board on March 13.
Work must start by March 25 if the authority is to get £890,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) towards the total costs. The remaining £226,000 is to be borrowed and paid back over a 20 year period.
This is the first step towards expanding the Gelderd Road site.
Funding of £1.07m from the HCA was secured in January 2012 to create 12 new pitches.
Helen Jones, chief executive of the Leeds GATE gypsy exchange, said improvement work was “well overdue”. But she welcomed the investment, and said: “We are absolutely pleased about the refurbishment, the point being that it’s social housing that should be invested in.
“I just hope this work will be done to a high standard. There is mildew in the ‘sheds’ as they are poorly heated and virtually just breeze block structures.”
The council’s deputy leader, councillor Peter Gruen, who is also executive board member for neighbourhoods and planning, said yesterday he was “pleased” everything was now in place to create a new site at Cottingley Springs.
But Ms Jones repeated concerns over expanding the existing camp, highlighting lack of community facilities.
She said: “Most importantly I hope the council takes account of the residents’s views and provides them with things they have asked for, which is a play park and facilities for children. Gelderd Road is not a safe place for young families to be wondering around.”
Ms Jones added: “We are very happy that the council is working with us to site a cabin there so that at last we have some sort of a community space.”