Leeds’ first new Gypsy and Traveller housing site in 20 years opens

Leeds’ first permanent Gypsy and Traveller housing site in 20 years has opened just outside of the city centre.

The construction of Kidacre Park, which was built on a disused former council depot, began in late 2017, and the residents moved in on December 3. The site was developed with funding from Council Commuted Sums and Homes England.

Each family plot contains a pre-constructed living pod which consists of a kitchen, bathroom and dining area with one of the living pods being specially adapted for disabled tenants.

Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for communities said: ‘I recognise it is difficult to come up with a perfect solution that all communities across Leeds agree on, but it is vital we take steps to provide stable housing options for Gypsy and Traveller families.

‘Our work with the Travelling community has been applauded as national best practice and we are dedicated to finding short and long-term practical solutions to meet the needs of our local communities as well as Travellers themselves. Kidacre Park is a result of this and it will provide a home for eight families and an alternative to unauthorised encampments elsewhere in the city.’

A spokesperson for Gypsy and Traveller charity Leeds GATE said: ‘Leeds GATE members are delighted to be moving on to this new site development, the first in over twenty years. Some of the families have been homeless for many years, trapped in a cycle of unauthorised encampment and eviction.

‘The difference that having stable accommodation can make to the lives of individuals and families is huge – including access to doctors and education. We are so pleased that Leeds City Council is making provision for its Gypsy and Traveller community members and we have hope for greater provision and inclusion of Travellers as a part of our city for the future.’

In September, NewStart visited Leeds Gate to learn more about ‘Negotiated stopping’, which is is an innovative policy that has seen Leeds City Council negotiate with Gypsies and Travellers to allow them to stay on a piece of land for a period of time if they agree to certain conditions around behaviour, health and safety and waste.

It’s estimated to have saved Leeds City Council around £250,000 a year on clean up, policing and litigation costs and has salvaged relations between the council, its residents and the Gypsy and Traveller community.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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