Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) council is lavishing taxpayers’ money on five-star pitches for travellers. It plans to spend some £1.8m on constructing an official site for travellers to park their caravans near the Lower Bristol Road, but some are questioning the high level of amenities being provided.
Each of the 13 pitches must be provided with hot and cold water, electricity, heating, a fully functioning bathroom and toilet, a kitchen/dining area and ‘ideally’ a living room! Each pitch will cost between £138,000-£192,000 to build. ‘It would be cheaper to buy 13 houses with drives,’ says one local councillor.
The five-star demands for each pitch come from the Home and Communities Agency (HCA), which is putting £750,000 of taxpayers’ money towards it. Overall, the HCA has £60m to fund traveller site projects around the UK.
B&NES plans to outsource to a company to charge a rent to the travellers using the site that could bring in £55,000 per year, but locals doubt this will happen. ‘The council will not get any money from the travellers for these sites,’ says one, while another fears ‘it [is] going to turn out to be too expensive for travellers to use because we’ve over engineered the solution—and thereby leave us with another white elephant.’