Leeds City Council have put an end to a cycle of encampment and eviction for eight Gypsy and Traveller families by providing them with a home at Kidacre Park, Hunslet.
The site was developed with funding from Council Commuted Sums and Homes England and is the first development of Gypsy and Traveller provision in over 20 years.
Kidacre Park, given its name by the families that now call it home, is Leeds’ second dedicated traveller site. The other site is Cottingley Springs in Gildersome which was opened 49 years ago.
The construction of Kidacre Park, which was built on a disused former council depot, began in late 2017, and the residents moved in on 3 December 2018.
Each family plot contains a pre-constructed living pod which consists of a kitchen, bathroom and dining area with one of the living pods being specially adapted for disabled tenants.
The development at Kidacre Park shows the council’s commitment to help meet the needs of Gypsy and Travellers and reduce road side and unauthorised encampments.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for communities said:
“I recognise it is difficult to come up with a perfect solution that all communities across Leeds agree on, but it is vital we take steps to provide stable housing options for Gypsy and Traveller families. Our work with the Travelling community has been applauded as national best practice and we are dedicated to finding short and long-term practical solutions to meet the needs of our local communities as well as Travellers themselves. Kidacre Park is a result of this and it will provide a home for eight families and an alternative to unauthorised encampments elsewhere in the city.”
Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for regeneration, transport and planning said:
“The council assessed a number of sites very carefully before moving forward with this development and I’m thrilled that the families have now been able to move in. Provision plans for Gypsies and Travellers are part of Leeds City Council’s core strategy, and were developed in partnership with Leeds GATE and in line with government guidance. Kidacre Park offers an opportunity to provide facilities which best meet the needs of the whole community as well as providing value for money.”
A Leeds GATE spokesperson said:
“Leeds GATE members are delighted to be moving on to this new site development, the first in over twenty years. Some of the families have been homeless for many years, trapped in a cycle of unauthorised encampment and eviction. The difference that having stable accommodation can make to the lives of individuals and families is huge – including access to doctors and education. We are so pleased that Leeds City Council is making provision for its Gypsy and Traveller community members and we have hope for greater provision and inclusion of Travellers as a part of our city for the future.”
This post is based on a press release issued by Leeds City Council