Travellers will be offered sites to avoid repeat of Dale Farm

£47m plan to provide hundreds of pitches

Moves to create some 800 permanent sites across England for Traveller families will be announced today in an effort to defuse community tensions with settled residents.

Under the £47m initiative, new locations will be found from Cornwall to Co Durham for Travellers, preventing them from having to put their caravans on unauthorised land.

The strains that can follow an influx of Travellers into an area were shown by the clashes over the Dale Farm site near Wickford, Essex, which ended with the eviction of Travellers in October after a 10-year legal fight with Basildon Council.

There are believed to be nearly 19,000 Traveller caravans in England, about 20 per cent of them on unauthorised sites. The award of cash to local authorities and housing associations is combined with stronger powers for councils to remove illegal sites and to stop people applying retrospectively for planning permission.

Andrew Stunell, the Communities minister, told The Independent: "If there are enough authorised and approved sites for the Traveller population, there is no need for an unauthorised or illegal settlement."

He said: "We need to restore confidence in the settled community that there isn't one planning regime for them and a more relaxed regime for Travellers. They are often seen as 'getting away with it', which creates a large amount of friction with the settled community."

The money will be used to provide 884 pitches, of which 617 will be new and 167 will be refurbished. A further £13m is being set aside to develop further pitches. Ministers say that with previous planning laws Whitehall told councils how many sites to allocate to Travellers – a top-down approach that forced some councils to encroach on the Green Belt.

Mr Stunell declared that he was committed to tackling the "endemic discrimination" facing Travellers by making sure they enjoyed the same access as their neighbours to housing and services.

He pointed out that at the moment Travellers have low levels of educational achievement, poor standards of maternal health and also have limited access to financial services.

"All of this creates a cycle of deprivation," he said. "If you are at constant risk of being moved on by police, you aren't able to put down roots."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine