June 20 2013 Latest news:
By Matt Hunter
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
A LANDOWNER is seeking £1.5million in damages if a council does not support his bid for a £1m improvement grant for his caravan site.
The agent for the landowner of The Forge Caravan Site, in Great Finborough, near Stowmarket, claimed they failed to win a previous grant because Mid Suffolk District Council did not support them.
He said legal proceedings would begin if the council does not pledge its support.
Stuart Carruthers, agent for landowner Levi Gumble, said: “We did not get the money for The Forge. We have to have the council’s support and that did not happen.
“We want to have 19 pitches and extend across the field. We would take the council to court; it’s only if they continue to act unreasonably.
“If Levi gets his site done up then everyone is happy.”
He said The Forge would also be looking at winning costs of a few thousand pounds.
Mid Suffolk had been allocated £1m of Government cash to improve facilities on the site but reduce the pitches from 19 to 12 in January 2012.
The money was dependent on the council winning their bid for compulsory purchase of the caravan site. But this was thrown out by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, last April.
A spokeswoman for the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) which is responsible for the funding, confirmed The Forge’s grant had not been supported by Mid Suffolk.
She said: “The HCA received a bid from Forge Community Group to fund pitches on The Forge site in the second round of the 2011-15 Traveller Pitch Funding programme, which closed in October 2012. All bidders were notified in December 2012 of the outcome of their bid.
“All bids were assessed on a variety of criteria including: value for money, strategic fit and local authority support.
“The Forge Community Group bid was unsuccessful in this bid round and there is no HCA funding currently allocated to the Forge Caravan Site.”
A spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk said: “We were unable to have detailed discussions around the aspects of the bid.
“We had three meetings booked in with one of the sponsors of the bid but they were all cancelled.
“We had a lot of questions about how the funding would be set up. As a result of not having the meetings, we felt unable to support the bid.”