Plans submitted to redevelop Travelers site in Coventry left in ‘poor condition’ after years of neglect
Plans have been submitted for the redevelopment of a site designed to accommodate travelers to Coventry. The city council says the proposed development will be located on Siskin Drive in Toll Bar End.
It was originally set up by the council in the 1970s, but stood “vacant and in disrepair” for several years. It is meant to provide permanent accommodation for the Traveler community, but has not served its purpose for some time.
Residents say the site has remained empty and inaccessible since 2019 and redevelopment plans due last summer have been delayed due to legal settlements. Rooftop Housing Association submitted redevelopment plans in February.
READ MORE:Anger at council as Travelers set up camp in residential area of Coventry
Working with the council, the company hopes to demolish the existing brick structures and erect 12 new permanent locations for the Traveler community. Each site will include an accommodation block, parking and a fenced garden with a shed.
Coventry City Council also said it had acquired new information about traveler needs, which informed how the site will be developed. These include making the sites “less cramped” and improving facilities such as “larger chalets with kitchen, living space, utility space and parking at the front for cars and caravans”.
Plans are also in place to create a communal play area for children. The redevelopment of the site is expected to be funded by grants from Homes England.
It comes after years of criticism of its poor condition and facilities, with travelers themselves previously calling it a ‘living hell’. Councils have a duty to allocate sufficient land for the accommodation needs of gypsies and travellers, and Siskin Drive is the designated permanent site for travelers to Coventry. However, with its doors closed since 2019, it has not been opened for use.
Travelers had no alternative but to set up camps in different parts of the city. Last week, residents noticed the appearance of several trailers on Sutton Avenue.
Residents felt ‘frustrated’ and councilors even accused Coventry City Council of ‘dragging’ with enforcement as illegal encampments continue to be set up in the city.
Conservative Councilor Peter Male told CoventryLive: “The opportunity for progress at Siskin Drive is to be welcomed, however, it will not on its own solve the problem of illegal encampments. I continue to call for a coherent policy across of the city, which could include the use of injunctions, a transit site and regular communication with the Traveler community.
“I would also like to urge the police to use the powers at their disposal to tackle anti-social behaviour. I would ask that council consider the opinions of council tax paying residents as a priority.”