SNDC Gypsy Site Development Fund

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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The request was partially successful.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

On about 18 December 2008 DCLG announced that it had awarded South Norfolk District Council ['SNDC'] about £200,000 from its Gypsy and Traveller Site Grant.

On about the same day SNDC announced that it had abandoned its sites strategy and that it continued to be unable to identify sites for travellers and gypsies. DCLG are already aware that SNDC in the last funding round identified as experts that it was going to establish a new site at Harford Bridge at a cost of £150,000 a pitch through the grant of a planning consent. Amazingly, as DCLG are aware the site was already established.

Even more amazingly, on about 18 December 2008 the South Norfolk District was identified in the press as Trailer Park UK http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/story.asp...

As the SNDC has no sites available and none are in prospect could DCLG please provide any guidance and/or associated documents that it might have as to why SNDC was awarded £200,000 when in all probability these funds could have been used by other Council's to provide homes for travellers.

Possibly the purpose of the SNDC development fund is simiply to allow the SNDC to use the resources to identify that there is only a need for about 20 pitches to be authorised through the planning system. This would be very strange, as on the ground it appears that between 500 and 1,000 pitches are needed in the district.

Yours faithfully,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

You are already aware that under the grant you awarded for Harford Bridge the SNDC as experts identified that a cost of a pitch was £150,000 approx.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/co...

On 18 December DCLG identified that the SNDC again as experts identified that the cost of a pitch was about £28,000 (approx).

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/de...

The cost of a pitch appears to have decreased by about £125,000 in South Norfolk over a 12 month period. Yet they are all dependent on grant of planning consent for the money to be accessible to the traveller community.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Melanie Sturtevant, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

2 Attachments

Dr Mr Hardwick Carruthers,

Please find attached a letter in response to your e-mail request of 21
December 2008.

Melanie Sturtevant
Accommodation and Inclusion Team
Gypsy and Traveller Unit
Communities and Local Government
Tel: 020 7944 8724
E-mail: [email address]

<<20090123 Stuart Hardwicke Carruthers.pdf>> <<Gypsy and Traveller Sites
Grant Guidance 2008-2011.pdf>>

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Communities and Local Government's handling of my FOI request 'SNDC Gypsy Site Development Fund'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/sn...

I have no great problems with the response provided by DCLG. However, it appears from the Council's own documents that asince 2003 about 40 per cent of all the enforcement notices it has issued have been against travellers. there was also one in long Stratton where they sought enforcement action because the officers didn't like the venetitian blinds that someone had put in their window.

Could I suggest that the Secretary of State and their Department have failed to adequately determine if the SNDC have met their duties under the Race Relations Act.. and that the Secretary of State and their Department needs to review its guidance.. (including the level of contribution to be provided by the SNDC). There is no doubt that the SNDC have no sites proposed. They withdrew all proposed sites in December 2008. It is identified in their minutes.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Juliet Tomlin, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

1 Attachment

<<090209 acknowledgement Carruthers.doc>>

Mr Carruthers

Please see the attached.

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Paul Downie, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

8 Attachments

<<09-03-06 FOI S H Carruthers reply.doc>> <<Emails relating to a visit by
Claire Cooper.doc>> <<GTSG 200809 Letter South Norfolk District
Council.doc>> <<Bid Appraisals returned by 5 Sept 2008.xls>> <<Final press
release East of England.doc>> <<20081114 Annexes to Sub IW GTSG
200809.doc>> <<20080915 Letter to EERA re South Norfolk innovative bid
(2).doc>> <<Final GTSG Determination 200809.pdf>>

Dear Mr Carruthers

Please find attached a response to your 8 February email, seeking a review
of CLG's handling of a Freedom of Information request.

Paul Downie

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Paul Downie,

On 09 February in the SNDC Capital Budget for 2009 / 2010 the SNDC stated:

'Grants - as well as government grants the Council has taken advantage of lottery and any other grants in the past. The Council encourages and supports partner organisations in making applications for external funding, assisting where possible by ‘pump priming’. The Council has been successful in securing a grant of £100,000 as match funding towards the acquisition of a site for travellers. '

You shall understand that your figures might be misunderstood by the SNDC (it would appear the SNDC have chosen not to fund travellers (despite funding being allocated for this purpose) to secure a political 4 per cent reduction in the SNDC Council Tax levy.

A copy of the Committee Report is on the SNDC Website.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

The funding that DCLG made available to support travellers about £1.1 million has also not been used:

'In response to a query the Director of Finance, Property and IT confirmed that the £1.1 million Capital Grant was accruing interest.'

Scrutiny Committee - South Norfolk, 11 February 2009 Minute 845

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Peter Bates, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Dear Mr Hardwicke Carruthers

Thank you for your emails of 6 March (to this Department's "Contactus"
account, and to Melanie Sturtevant) the contents of which have been
noted.

regards

Peter Bates
Gypsy And Traveller Unit
Communities and Local Government
020 7944 3245
[email address]

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
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