Decision details

Mellishaw Traveller Site - Future Arrangements

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Cabinet to consider options for the future ownership and management of the site.


(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Caroline Jackson)


Cabinet received a report from the Director of Communities and the Environment to consider whether to support in principle the transfer of ownership of Mellishaw Traveller Site from Lancashire County Council and refer to full Council for a decision.


It was noted that the original report had failed to use capital letters when referring to Travellers and Gypsies and this was deeply regrettable and would be addressed in the subsequent report to Council.


The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:



Option 1: The city council takes ownership of the site undertaking a programme of improvement works as outlined in the report and manages the site at least in the short term.


Option 2:  The city council does not take on ownership of the site



The homes of the Travellers on the site are secured.


The wellbeing of the residents is improved with the peace of mind that the council will own the site.

The city council have several years of experience managing this site.


An opportunity for the residents on the site to influence the scope and nature of improvement works therefore creating sense of pride and ownership.


Reduced financial outlay compared with any potential re housing costs.


The council would still have an enforcement and licensing role in relation to any new owner. 



Substantial additional capital investment required


Additional revenue costs required for maintenance and staffing costs in managing the site. 


The site would most likely be sold to a private owner with potential impacts on the residents future security of their homes.


Increased demand due to homelessness on other statutory or third sector agencies.




Possible reputational risk to council if council taxpayers not in favour of a large financial outlay for a small percentage of residents.


The costs of undertaking the works and managing the site is a best estimate and unforeseen issues may mean the costs could be higher.


Possible reputational risk to council if seen to be failing in safeguarding the residents homes


As there is no statutory duty to provide Traveller sites, there is no officer preferred option.


Following Lancashire County Council’s decision to declare Mellishaw Traveller site surplus to their requirements, the report provided information and the potential financial implications to the City Council if Cabinet was minded to support the council taking ownership of this site.


Councillor Jackson proposed, seconded by Councillor Hanson:-


“That the recommendations, as set out in the report, be approved and referred to full Council when greater detail regarding costings was forthcoming.”


Councillors then voted:-


Resolved unanimously:


(1)        That Cabinet supports in principle the transfer of Mellishaw Traveller site from Lancashire County Council to Lancaster City Council for a nominal fee.


(2)        That the decision be referred to Full Council when greater detail regarding costings was forthcoming, in accordance with financial regulations, as the funding requirement is currently not budgeted for and is outside the budget and policy framework.


Officer responsible for effecting the decision:


Director for Communities and the Environment


Reasons for making the decision:


The decision is consistent with Healthy and Happy Communities within the Council Plan; reducing health inequalities, preventing homelessness and providing access to quality housing.  It is also consistent with the Housing Strategy and Local Plan in relation to the provision of pitches for Travellers.

Publication date: 11/11/2019

Date of decision: 05/11/2019

Decided at meeting: 05/11/2019 - Cabinet

Effective from: 19/11/2019

Accompanying Documents: