Council look to buy land for new travellers’ site in Carrick

South Ayrshire Council is looking for a piece of land in the Carrick area to potentially become the new home for residents displaced from the Houdston travellers’ site.

The families had to be moved following the devastation caused by Storm Frank in December 2015 which led to unprecedented levels of flooding.

Since then, the residents and their caravans have been staying at a supported temporary site at Old Troweir Road in Girvan until all options for their long term wellbeing and safety can be considered.

The council is seeking interest from landowners who may be able to provide a safe and secure piece of land.

To accommodate all the families the council is looking for approximately 1.5 acres (6,000 square metres) of land which must be located in the Carrick area, preferably close to Girvan so that the residents can continue to be part of that community.

David Burns, Head of Housing and Facilities said “We did all we could to help those living at the Houdston site last December but the rain levels were unprecedented and despite flood barriers, drainage pumps and water containment measures, the site could not cope and the families had to move for safety reasons.

“Living at a temporary site is not an ideal situation and we have been working with those affected by the flood to bring as much stability to their lives as possible but a long term solution needs to be found.

“I would encourage anyone that has land that we could potentially consider to get in touch.

“If you have a piece of land which you feel may be suitable please contact John.McCallum@south-ayrshire.gov.uk by the 12th July 2016.

“John can also be reached on 0300 123 0900.

A report before a full meeting of South Ayrshire Council’s leadership panel on Tuesday, February 16 stated that the Houdston site was so badly damaged that it could not be protected from further flooding in future.

The report stated: “Costs of reinstatement and protection are estimated between £850,000 and £1 million, with no guarantee that flooding of the site will not occur in the future.

“Although the majority of residents have been left with no caravan, they have indicated their intention to acquire a replacement once an alternative site has been identified for them.”

The report had identified the former nursery at Coalpots Road, Girvan as the most suitable option.

However councillors at the February meeting agreed to further investigations being carried out to identify possible long term relocation of the site.