CS18: Gypsies and Travellers and Travelling Showpeople

CS18: Gypsies and Travellers and Travelling Showpeople

Provision will be made for an additional 36 residential and 10 transit pitches for Gypsies and Travellers for the period 2006 to 2011.

Future provision for both Gypsies and Travellers and Travelling Showpeople will be addressed through Local Development Documents having regard to the West of England Gypsy and Travellers Accommodation Assessment and any susequent reviews.

Residential Sites

Proposals for the use of land for residential caravans occupied by Gypsies or other Travellers or as a permanent base for Travelling Showpeople will be permitted in the Green Belt in very special circumstances only. Preference will be given to proposals for the use of previously developed land, land  associated with new major housing development, including the Weston urban extension and the expansion of existing sites.

The following considerations will be taken into account in the determination of locations for sites:

1)   the site is well related to local services and facilities including schools, health and welfare facilities; and

2)  the site is already or capable of being adequately screened and would otherwise respect the landscape character of the locality; and

3)  the proposal would not unacceptably prejudice the amenities of adjoining occupiers; and

4)  the site is capable of being provided with foul and surface water drainage, including appropriate infrastructure and facilities to manage wastes; and

5)  there is adequate parking and safe access into and out of the site; and

6)  the site is capable of being developed within the required timescale.

Transit Sites

All proposals for transit sites for Gypsies and Travellers will be considered in the context of the above policy and criteria, excluding (i).  Preference will be given to proposals on land with easy access to the major road network, including M5 motorway junctions.

This policy contributes towards achieving Priority Objective 8.

Background

The approach of the Gypsy and Travellers and Travelling Showpeople policy is to confirm the residential and transit site requirements of the draft Regional Spatial Strategy, and to set out criteria for the assessment of proposals. The Core Strategy is required to be in general conformity with the Regional Spatial Strategy and work is already underway on preparing a Gypsy and Travellers Sites Allocations Development Plan Document that will allocate sites sufficient to meet the identified accommodation needs in North Somerset.

The emerging RSS identifies a need for 36 residential and 10 transit pitches to meet Gypsy and Traveller needs to 2011, with future need dependent upon a review of the West of England Gypsy and Travellers Accommodation Assessment, and an assessment of unauthorised encampments in respect of transit requirements. The RSS identifies a need for 51 plots for Travelling Showpeople in the West of England to 2011, but there is no requirement identified for any of that provision within North Somerset.

The Core Strategy approach

The policy reflects government guidance as set out in Circular 01/2006 'Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites' and Circular 04/2007 'Planning for Travelling Showpeople'. It also reflects the findings of the West of England Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment undertaken in 2007. The policy seeks to ensure that sites are located in sustainable locations, well screened and accessible and that opportunities for integration between the travelling and settled community are maximised.

Caravan

How and where the policy will be delivered

The Gypsy and Traveller Site Allocation Development Plan Document will allocate specific sites to accommodate the identified need. Such sites will be accessed through a sustainability appraisal on how they meet social, economic and environmental objectives and will need to conform with this policy. Future reviews will be required to identify longer term requirements and to identify sites.

The strategy will be delivered through the provision of private or publicly managed sites. These sites will either be identified in the Gypsy and Traveller Site Allocation Development Plan Document or come forward as planning applications. Government finance is available for councils to provide both residential and transit sites.

There will be co-ordination between public bodies to ensure that all available public land is assessed for its suitability as a Gypsy and Traveller site.

Alternative options and contingency planning

The RSS figures only relate to 2011, and additional provision may be required for both Gypsy and Traveller and Travelling Showpeople needs during the rest of the plan period. An option would be to make provision for anticipated needs for the medium or longer term, but without the evidence base this is difficult to define.

Monitoring and review

Gypsy and Traveller residential and transit pitches permitted and implemented will be assessed and compared with identified requirements, as well as unauthorised encampments. Reviews of the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment and other evidence will need to be taken into account and future needs identified.