Preston Council has agreed to adopt the Leighton Street Traveller site and will now take on its management responsibilities.Advertisement
On 24 February, Preston City Council unanimously agreed they would adopt the site from Lancashire County Council (LCC).
A recent decision by LCC to dispose of three county sites established in the late 1980s raised concern in the community, with fears that the decision would lead to the sale of the Preston site, higher rents and residents being forced from their homes.
Lancashire County Council offered the site and responsibility to Preston City Council as an alternative to selling.
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Leader of Preston City Council Councillor Matthew Brown said: “A part of our commitment to community wealth building is to encourage greater democratic ownership and management of local assets.
“Cooperatives – business enterprises owned by their members – can play a key role in this, and the readiness of the Leighton Street community to establish a cooperative to run the site provided a good fit with our approach and long-term principles.”
The site community have lived at Leighton Street for over 30 years, and it is one of the three county sites, with the families well integrated into the local area and their children attending local schools.
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With support from a local group and Preston’s Cooperative Development Network, community representatives proposed that if the city council adopted the site, the newly established Leighton Street Cooperative would take on the management and operation, with all residents invited to join the cooperative.
Councillor Brown said: “Discussions are now underway between the city council and the Leighton Street Cooperative on the necessary arrangements for the management and operation of the site once the formal transfer is complete.”
Preston City Council will offer some support to establish the cooperative as a legal entity and provide training to its members in key areas of responsibility.
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John Gavin, Leighton Street Site Manager, said: “Thank you to Preston City Council for adopting the Leighton Street site.
“We appreciate all the hard work to make this possible after the unfortunate delays due to the pandemic.
“Everyone on the site is extremely grateful for the agreement, allowing us to return to normality knowing the future of the site is secure.”
John said the cooperative is also thankful for the support they received from the community, local businesses, and police.
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