Resident managers

Our approach to Traveller site management is to help the residents feel secure by enabling them to exercise control over their environment.

This has been illustrated at Mile Cross Travellers' site in Norwich, one of five authorised sites owned by Norfolk County Council and now managed by NPS Group.  The 18-pitch site was in a very poor state when we carried out our initial assessment.  Previously there had been no effective on-site management, and the location had suffered from visits by Traveller families who had not respected the facility.  Extensive fly-tipping, including hazardous waste, had made the site an unhealthy place to live.  The amenity blocks were dilapidated and the utility services had been vandalised.

Mary Brazil had lived on the site since it opened in the 1970s.  She expressed her exasperation — "Many of us [residents] were trying to keep our plots nice, but there was no control.  Some people would pull on and not respect the site."  

NPS set about changing their lives for the better.  The Council made £90,000 of funding available, and we were able to secure a further £272,000 from central government sources.  We selected a contractor who carried out extensive refurbishment of the amenity blocks, as well as cosmetic and security improvements.  More importantly, we empowered one of the residents of the Mile Cross site as the resident Site Manager.

All the pitches have now been filled, and the site is flourishing.  Mary has confirmed the difference we have made — "Things are better now.  We don't have anybody pull on and break the place up.  I feel much safer now.  The site is clean and tidy and much more peaceful."