Cost of travellers site in Brighton rises to £2.4m

Posted On 01 Jul 2015 at 2:50 pm

The cost of creating a permanent travellers site on the edge of Brighton has risen to £2.4 million, a councillor said today (Wednesday 1 July).Lee Wares, a Conservative councillor for Patcham ward, said that he had learnt about the £700,000 rise in cost from Brighton and Hove City Council staff.The original £1.7 million cost of creating 12 permanent pitches at the Horsdean site was covered by a government grant.

But, Councillor Wares said, the £700,000 overspend will have to be met by council tax payers.

The existing site, which has 23 transit pitches, will be converted to a site with 12 permanent pitches and 21 transit pitches.

Councillor Wares said that, with minimal works proposed to the 21 remaining transit pitches, the new 12 permanent pitches are thought to now be costing about £2.4 million – or a staggering £200,000 a pitch.

Councillor Wares said: “It is an unbelievable amount of money to be spent on essentially creating 12 concrete hard stands each with a toilet and shower hut. For £200,000 you could build a fabulous four-bedroom house.”

This extra £700,000 also appears to exclude the costs associated with any temporary site that might be established should Horsdean’s redevelopment take place, he said.

The Horsdean site is directly over a man-made adit – or tunnel – that collects water drawn by the Patcham pumping station, he added. As a result the Environment Agency requires expensive drainage systems and pollution control measures to be installed – as well as flood defences – to protect the city’s drinking water supply.

Councillor Wares said: “These measures, however, are not the end of the matter.

“The Environment Agency has dictated that no fuels, paints, bleaches, cleaning detergents and other like chemicals and products must be used or stored on site.

“This is to prevent the pollution control measures being degraded as well as the risk of contamination of the drinking water supply.

“However, this, practically, makes it impossible for travelling families to use the site”

 “I’m also concerned that once all this money has been spent, the 21 transit pitches that could accommodate 100 to 150 people will only be served with four toilets as opposed to the permanent pitches that have a toilet each.

“It’s hardly a healthy, proper and reasonable solution for the travelling community”

The opposition Conservative group leader Councillor Geoffrey Theobald said “This is a totally unacceptable situation. Not only will risks remain to the city’s water supply but council tax payers will have to fork out an extra £700,000.

“Councillor Wares has rightly asked the administration to suspend this project immediately so that urgent reviews of the health risks and funding can be investigated.

“With the project apparently due to start in four to six weeks’ time it is astonishing that no committee has been briefed or asked for funds by council officers.”

Councillor Wares asked for further information from the council but, he said, specific details have not been provided. This had forced him to submit “freedom of information” requests.

He added: “It is really worrying when councillors have to resort to making FoI requests.”

  1. Arthur Petworth Reply

    With £200k you could indeed build a 4 bed house. then sell it for £350-400k to another rich person. Tories know all about that sort of thing. With Local Authorities unable to borrow money to build social housing in the form of council houses, at least here some homes will be built that arenLt for the purpose of the rich getting richer.

    • sasquatch Reply

      Interesting you use the word local Arthur because this development on our south downs is exclusively for irish TRAVELLERS and Not any local people. All in the name of political correctness. And beside that, this environmentally sensitive area should NEVER be built on.

  2. Lesley Bailey Reply

    Quite true, yes you could build more homes but if this project goes ahead Brighton and Hove and the surrounding area from telscombe to shoreham and everywhere in between could lose their water. This would have a negative affect on all the homes that are required in this area. Before people make such uninformed remarks they should find out the facts before putting their own political spin on something they obviously know nothing about.

  3. Allison Packham Reply

    This is a ridiculous amount of money for such a small level of provision. PAHCA have long suspected that the build would come to something similar to this. This figure could increase further, if, as we suspect they will, any problems are encountered along the way. There is no leeway if any issues occur with the drilling under the bypass and we know that there were problems when the road was constructed. The possible solution feature (sinkhole) won’t be confirmed either way until construction commences and will throw out the proposed location for a soakaway as it could cause ground stability concerns.

    • sasquatch Reply

      Well said madam

  4. sasquatch Reply

    This project was a loony green party idea that they amazingly wanted to push through no matter what the cost both financially and to the environment. What people nestled in our once beautiful city don’t realise is that the trasit site with only a handful of inhabitants already cost the council tax payer around 300k per year due to constant maintenance caused by vandalism and a permanent posting of security guards there. This abuse of facilities provided for these individuals will be imcreasd ten fold when or if this white elephant waste of money gets built. With cut backs to public services including children’s homes mobile libraries for the elderly etc it really gets your goat when you walk
    past this site and see quad bikes being ridden everywhere and genetators on the ground with no trays underneath to catch fuel leaks as is the law anywhere else and piles of rubble which are hastily cleared away. These people have no respect or social responsibility. I couldn’t think of a better way tp blow 2.4 million pounds, can you?
    4

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