A permanent Gypsy/Traveller site near Perth is to be totally transformed thanks to £4m of funding secured by Perth & Kinross Council.
All of the 20 chalets at Double Dykes, Ruthvenfield, will be replaced with brand new energy-efficient accommodation for residents. Major additional improvement works will be also carried out across the site.
The Council successfully bid for £3,906,000 from the Scottish Government's Gypsy/Traveller Accommodation Fund to help pay for the works. The award will make up 60% of the total cost, with the Housing Service contributing the rest.
The Scottish Government and COSLA's joint Action Plan Improving the Lives of Scotland's Gypsy/Travellers was published in 2019, and committed to additional and better accommodation for Gypsy/Travellers. In March 2021 the Scottish Government announced the Gypsy/Traveller Accommodation Fund to help to achieve the commitment in the Action Plan. The Fund is for renovating existing Gypsy/Traveller sites or building new sites.
The Double Dykes improvement scheme will see:
- 20 brand new chalets built to replace existing older accommodation
- New energy-efficient heating and hot water systems installed using renewable technology like solar panels, with the potential to be net zero
- The installation of new services and utilities connections
- New fencing to the four sides of each pitch with a pedestrian gate and a double vehicle gate installed for security
- Improvements to roadways and fences on site
- Upgrades to LED street lighting throughout the site.
- Improvements to site drainage.
- Development of a playing field area to rear of the site to consider opportunities for a communal gathering area, a play park with seating area, and the potential for a community garden area.
- New paths to provide improve access across the site.
All of the work will be carried out following full consultation and engagement with residents.
Housing and Social Wellbeing Convener, Councillor Tom McEwan, said: "The successful bid for this funding is fantastic news for all of the residents at Double Dykes. The existing chalets at the site have been in place for some time, and the news that we are able to replace them with energy-efficient modern accommodation will be welcomed by everyone who lives there.
"We will continue consultation with residents ensure their views inform the plan for the project. We will work closely with people who live on the site throughout the process.
"The people who live at Double Dykes are tenants of the Council and we have a duty to provide the best services we can for them. I am delighted that this significant funding award will allow us to completely transform the site and improve the lives of our tenants."