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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2004, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Cash to improve traveller sites
Travellers' caravan
The grant will pay for better facilities on the sites
Gypsy and traveller sites across the north-east of England are to benefit from government funding.

Among the places to gain from the windfall are sites in Durham, Darlington and Northumberland.

Nationally, 8m has been granted to help councils refurbish the pitches and modernise water and electricity systems at the sites.

It will also help pay for the provision of new or enlarged pitches to meet the needs of larger groups.

Durham's Tower Road site will receive 78,134, Darlington's Honeypot Lane will get 312,210 and the Hartford Bridge site in Northumberland will get 155,041.

The money will be paid out in two phases in 2004 - 2005 with 45 projects receiving 4.8m in the first round to help refurbish the existing network of council sites.

Support for communities

Funding for the second round, of up to 3m, will be made later in the year.

The Gypsy Sites Refurbishment Grant meets 75% of refurbishment costs and local authorities are required to fund the remaining 25% from their own resources.

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper said the government was committed to improving the lives of gypsies and travellers.

She said: "It is important that sites meet proper standards and that sub-standard sites are refurbished and brought back into use.

"Good quality sites provide important support for gypsy and traveller communities and help them live in harmony with neighbouring settled communities."

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