Great Finborough: Caravan site owner seeks funding

A LANDOWNER is to bid for government funding for improvements to his caravan site, despite the local council winning a grant to do the work earlier in the year.

In January, Mid Suffolk District Council in partnership with Orwell Housing Association won �1million of funding for improvements to the Forge Caravan Site, Great Finborough, Stowmarket.

But the money cannot be used until the council’s application for a compulsory purchase order (CPO) of the site has been approved by the Government.

The long-running dispute is set to continue after a representative of the landowner, Levi Gumble, said community groups were also eligible for government money.

A spokesperson for the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) said that the deadline for money announced in January had passed but that the group could bid for money from a �13million pot set aside for site improvement works nationwide.

Stuart Carruthers, agent for Levi Gumble, said: “There’s an agreement that the site needs doing up and what Mid Suffolk kept on doing was asking Mr Gumble to do it up, but he has not got the money to do it. Running travellers’ pitches is not conducive to making money.

“The site is fully in use and the residents want to develop it themselves.

Most Read

“The Government has said that he can bid. There’s nothing stopping him from bidding for the funds. It raises the question what the fuss has been about anyway.”

Mr Gumble’s bid for money would centre on improvements to the existing 19 pitches and a possible extension into a nearby meadow.

Mid Suffolk plans to reduce the number of pitches to 12 upgraded plots with additional facilities for residents.

A spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk said: “We can confirm that residents have been in touch with us and we are investigating the points that they have made.”

A spokeswoman for HCA said: “Representatives of the gypsy and traveller community are in very early discussions with the HCA about potentially bidding for traveller pitch funding.

“Details of the bidding requirements for the remaining �13m are not yet available and are due to be announced in May.”