Policy HSG9: Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Show People

Open22 Jan, 2024, 10:00am - 4 Mar, 2024, 11:59pm

Policy HSG9:  Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Show People

The council will make provision for additional gypsy and traveller pitches to meet the accommodation needs of Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople in the borough, as indicated in the most recent Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment.

The council will meet the identified need for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople through the provision of plots and/or pitches as part of Greenfield allocations. [The distribution of pitches will be set out in this policy at a later date, once the approach has been finalised].

Offsite pitches in lieu of the pitches required on the strategic allocations will only be acceptable where all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The alternative site provides for at least the same quantity of provision as required by the relevant allocation policy;
  2. The alternative site is considered as sustainable with regards to access to services when compared with the site allocation for which it is a substitute;
  3. The site has potential for successful integration between travelling and settled communities, including through suitable positioning of the pitches;
  4. The site can be developed within the same timeframe (or faster) as the housing allocation site being replaced; and
  5. The site would meet the needs of the travellers it is intended to accommodate.

If planning proposals for accommodation sites for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople are received for sites other than those set out in relevant allocation policies, they will only be permitted where:

  1. There is an identified need for the pitch provision;
  2. There is no adverse impact upon local amenity and the natural and historic environment;
  3. The site is located within a reasonable distance of local services with capacity, including education establishments, health and welfare services, shops and community facilities;
  4. There is safe and reasonable access to the highway, public transport services and sustainable transport options;
  5. Adequate on-site facilities are provided for parking, storage, play and residential amenity and appropriate essential services;
  6. The potential for a mix of uses on the site has been demonstrated, where required; and
  7. The potential for successful integration between travelling and settled communities has been demonstrated, including through suitable positioning of the pitches on mixed use sites.

Planning permission will not be granted for the replacement of lawful Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople sites by permanent dwellings or other uses unless it can be clearly demonstrated to the satisfaction of the local planning authority that there is no genuine need or likely future need for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople sites in the locality and other planning policy requirements are met.

In addition to the site allocations within this Local Plan, in the event of any non-allocated housing sites coming forward for development, accommodation for Gypsies, Travellers or Travelling Showpeople should be provided on development sites of 500 homes or more whilst there remains an identified need in the borough. For 500 to 999 homes two pitches or plots should be provided, for 1,000 to 1,499 homes four pitches or plots, for 1,500 to 1,999 homes six pitches or plots and for 2,000 or more homes eight pitches or plots.

10.68 The council has a commitment to support sustainable communities and address housing needs. This applies to travelling communities as well as settled communities.
10.69 The council, as the local planning authority, is required to identify sites for the likely permanent and transit site accommodation to meet the needs of Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople.
10.70 There are distinct differences in the culture and way of life of Gypsies and Travellers, and Travelling Showpeople. For this reason Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (DCLG, 2023) provides two separate definitions:
10.71

Gypsies and Travellers means:

“Persons of nomadic habit of life whatever their race or origin, including such persons who on grounds only of their own or their family’s or dependants’ educational or health needs or old age have ceased to travel temporarily or permanently, but excluding members of an organised group of travelling showpeople or circus people travelling together as such.”

10.72

Travelling showpeople means:

“Members of a group organised for the purposes of holding fairs, circuses or shows (whether or not travelling together as such). This includes such persons who on the grounds of their own or their family’s or dependants’ more localised pattern of trading, educational or health needs or old age have ceased to travel temporarily or permanently, but excludes Gypsies and Travellers as defined above.”

10.73 For gypsies and travellers that do not meet the definition their needs are met through the general housing policies within this plan. This is because caravans are counted in the census and so the needs of households living within caravans are incorporated into the subnational population projections, household projections and standard method calculation.
10.74 Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (PPTS) requires local planning authorities to identify and update annually, a supply of specific deliverable[1] sites sufficient to provide five years’ worth of sites against their locally set targets. The council commissioned an updated Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) and this will identify future needs for pitches over the plan period.
10.75 The Local Plan will set a strategy for providing accommodation for gypsies through the delivery of sites which is likely to include pitch allocations on the larger housing allocations. The council considers that this is likely to constitute the most effective method of meeting the requirements set out in the PPTS. However, further work will be completed to ensure a suitable strategy is reflected in the Plan. When providing gypsy and traveller sites on the housing allocations it will be necessary to have regard to the relevant criteria listed in Policy HSG9.
10.76 When making provision for pitches which would be for sale on the open market it will be important to ensure that pitches are large enough to make provision for an: amenity block (usually comprising a floor area of 25-35 sqm, and including a kitchen and toilet/bathroom), a mobile home/static caravan (generally up to 20m in length and 6.8m wide), a touring caravan, parking for at least two vehicles and sufficient space for manoeuvring vehicles. Pitches should be provided in small groups in order to allow for travellers to live in close proximity to members of their extended family. It is likely that this will require at least 320 sqm per pitch, but possibly a larger area depending on the specific site characteristics. The s.106 agreement pertaining to planning applications for relevant site allocations will need to set out the detailed arrangements for the specification of the pitches, the timing of delivery and on what basis they would be made available for travellers in terms of ownership arrangements.
10.77 Where sites are required to make provision for ‘affordable’ pitches the s.106 agreement pertaining to the planning application will need to specify details by which the pitches will be provided at an appropriate cost to travellers, managed, maintained and retained for affordable accommodation.
10.78 Traveller pitches should be planned for at the outset of the development, and their location identified as early as possible through the masterplan process. They must not be provided on public open space or other parts of the site safeguarded for other purposes.
10.79

In addition to providing pitches on larger housing allocations, pitches can also be provided on appropriate sites via planning applications, subject to meeting the criteria set out in the policy and national guidance. The criteria in the policy respond to the need to ensure that Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople sites are accessible and that there is convenient access to local services and facilities, specifically educational, medical and welfare services. The available provision of local services, especially schools, to meet the needs of the occupiers must also be reviewed and appropriately addressed. When considering applications for sites, the council will take the following factors into account:

Suitability of the site: Caravans, mobile homes and park homes are highly vulnerable to flood risk. Therefore, sites in Flood Zone 3 will not be permitted and sites in Zone 2 will be required to satisfy the Sequential and Exception tests.

Sustainability of the location: Locations in or near existing settlements are more likely to have reasonable access to local health, educational and retail facilities. Such locations will also allow for integration between the settled and travelling communities. Sites in such locations will also help improve access to employment opportunities and public transport by a variety of means other than private car.

Nationally recognised designations: National Landscapes, SSSI, conservation areas etc. should be avoided unless there are no alternative locations and any identified impacts can be adequately minimised.

10.80 Given that the council’s strategy is to make provision for pitches on larger strategic housing sites, the policy also includes a provision whereby pitches should be provided on larger strategic scale housing sites which come forward without the benefit of allocations in the Local Plan, for example in the event that the council does not have a five year housing land supply. This is considered important to ensure that there is a continuing supply of pitches. The pitches provided via this clause should address any outstanding needs at the time of the application.
Implementation and Monitoring

The policy will be implemented through:

  • The development of masterplans for the strategic housing sites referred to in the policy;
  • The determination of relevant planning applications; and
  • The need for transit sites within the borough will be investigated through further evidence-based work undertaken on a cross boundary basis.

The policy will be monitored through:

  • The annual monitoring of the supply of sites and planning applications for Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople sites and the associated calculation of the five-year supply position in relation to traveller pitches;.
  • Analysis of relevant planning applications and appeals where they address issues associated with need and supply level.; and
  • Future updates to the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA).
 

[1] To be considered deliverable, sites should be available now, offer a suitable location for development now, and be achievable with a realistic prospect that development will be delivered on the site within five years and in particular that development of the site is viable.

 

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