WORK to replace the vandalised Romany Close travellers' site at Grafton, on the outskirts of Hereford, is expected to start in the autumn.

It will cost £400,000, including a £300,000 grant from the Government.

Members of Herefordshire Council's cabinet decided to refurbish the site next to the ambulance headquarters after hearing the Government was unlikely to allow the money to be spent on a new site elsewhere.

It is understood the site will be 10 pitches, half the size of the original Romany Close, and any surplus land will be sold off.

Romany Close was once a model site but was closed down in 2002 after being wrecked and trashed by others once the legal tenants had moved away.

It cost the council more than £10,000 to clear away rubbish and tidy the site which has been empty for three years.

Last week, the council's cabinet turned down alternative sites for travellers at Watery Lane, Lower Bullingham, in favour of staying at Grafton.

Councillor George Hyde said that it had been a very good place until trouble started there.

Coun Ursula Attfield also backed the site, saying she could see no reason why it could not be used for travellers on condition it was given regular and proper support.

She hoped the area could also be used for a park and ride scheme south of the river.

A SMALL village near Ledbury could soon be home to a new gipsy settlement.

The news comes after plans were submitted to Herefordshire Council this week to put seven caravans on land adjoining Whitfield Coppice at Trumpet.

Work pitches and 12 car parking spaces would also be provided on the 0.5-hectare site off the A438 if planners approve the proposals.