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Council receives £500k funding to refurbish Chiseldon Firs Transit Site

More than half a million pounds will be spent refurbishing the Chiseldon Firs Transit Site just outside of Swindon.

The site, which is located within the Swindon Borough, offers Gypsies and Travellers that come through Swindon a safe area that does not impact on local residents and reduces unauthorised encampments. It also reduces local hostility and discrimination that this community has had to endure.

Over the years the site has fallen into disrepair and has often been seen as unappealing to those it has been offered to.

Changes to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act means it is now a criminal offence for anyone (one vehicle or more) who enters or has intentions to enter land without permission to camp.

If they are causing a significant impact on the land they occupy, and the local community, this can lead to a prison sentence, a fine or see their vehicle seized by Wiltshire Police.

With the new £514,389 funding, from the Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Council aims to make the area secure from the public and safer for those who want to use it.

The improvements include:

  • A new purpose-built area with community facilities and showers and toilets
  • Landscaping and access clearance
  • Individual plots of land for vehicles and caravans
  • A new play area
  • A new septic tank
  • An electric supply and feeder pillars for water and electric
  • CCTV
  • Dedicated animal area

The work is due to be completed by Spring 2024.

Councillor Janine Howarth, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “I am delighted to have received this funding. With this new funding we will now be able to make this a site that communities want to use.

“This will hopefully reduce the number of unauthorised encampments that occur across the Borough. I’m really keen to see the work get started.

“In the meantime, we will continue to work with all Gypsy and Traveller communities who pass through Swindon to ensure the minimum disruption is made to local residents and public spaces.”

empty area traveller transit site