MORE money is needed to finish building a new permanent site for the gypsy and traveller community in Machynlleth.

And Powys County Council also needs to protect itself in case it needs to cover a possible shortfall of £750,000 in the project funding in case a grant funding bid to the Welsh Government fails or comes up short of the total sum needed.

Work to turn the unofficial campsite on the outskirts of Machynlleth into a permanent one has begun, but a shortfall of £41,000 in funding has been identified during the tendering process.

This is due to safety measures that are now needed on building sites because of the coronavirus.

The project will now cost £1.326 million rather than the £1.285 million that had been budgeted for, when the go-ahead for the scheme was given earlier this year.

Portfolio holder for housing, Cllr James Evans, (Gwernyfed – Conservative), said: “This is an ongoing project that’s been discussed for a number of years.

“The tender was £41,000 over what we budgeted for, this is just a realignment of finance to make sure there’s enough money in the pot to pay for this work to be done.

“The sooner we can get this project over and done with the better.”

Council Leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris,  (Independent – Llangynidr) added: “I used to have this portfolio and I can remember the family were living in difficult circumstances, the quicker we can do this the better.”

The financial changes were approved unanimously by the council's cabinet.

The report also shows that £456,000 needs to be moved between PCC accounts to fund the project.

This money will come from the Homefinder Receipts Reserve, but amounts over £500,000 need to be approved at a full council meeting.

In June, Powys Council revealed that a three-way deal worth over £10,000 with Machynlleth Golf Club and Natural Resources Wales was needed to bring the scheme to fruition.

Machynlleth Golf Club sold land on a 50-year lease to the council, and NRW sold it 6.4 acres of land south of the A489 road to become common land, and replace what the golf club lost.

Earlier this month Welshpool-based SWG Group started work on the site.

It is estimated that work  will be finished in January, and  five households will be accommodated appropriately, will be able to access services and pay rent.

Local authorities in Wales have a legal responsibilities and duties to provide suitable accommodation for Gypsy and Traveller families.