Preferred Options

Ended on the 25th September 2009
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15. Gypsies and Travellers

Core Strategy Strategic Objective

To help meet the needs of Gypsies and Travellers through supporting the development of suitable land for accommodation

SCS Strategic Aim

Everyone's housing needs are met

Why is this a Strategic Objective?

15.1 It is understood that gypsies and travellers experience the worst health and education status of any disadvantaged group in England. As part of a strong community, members of gypsy and traveller communities have the same rights and responsibilities as every other citizen. Research has shown a link between the lack of good quality sites and poor health and education. Furthermore, unauthorised sites used by gypsies and travellers often cause distress and conflict with local communities.

15.2 There are currently no temporary or permanent sites for gypsies and travellers in the District and a number of unauthorised sites have been used in recent years. A study undertaken for the Council has demonstrated a potential requirement for one permanent site and one temporary site within the District to meet the identified need and help to avoid the further use of unauthorised sites.

Evidence:

Participation

15.3 Public consultation on the "Issues Paper" identified the requirement to consider the needs of gypsies and travellers. This issue was addressed within the "Options Paper", and in response to the consultation, the majority of respondents agreed with the criteria put forward to be used in identifying sites for gypsies and travellers. A number of potential broad locations and sites were also put forward by respondents.

Research

15.4 A Gypsy & Traveller Accommodation Assessment (March 2008) has been undertaken for the South Housing Market Area, which includes Warwick District. This established the current number and location of existing gypsy and traveller population within the area, along with their unmet accommodation needs for a five year period. This concluded that there was a potential requirement in Warwick District for 11 permanent pitches and 15 temporary pitches, with no additional need for a site for travelling show people. This requirement was subject to supplementary work due to the low number of interviews undertaken within the District and further work is being undertaken to demonstrate the need.

National and Regional Planning Policies

15.5 Relevant national planning policy on gypsies and travellers is set out in Circular 1/2006: Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites. This requires Core Strategies to set out criteria for the location of gypsy and traveller sites which will be used to guide the allocation of sites within subsequent development plan documents. The criteria must be fair, reasonable, realistic and effective in delivering sites.

15.6 Emerging regional planning policy in the Phase Two Revision requires local planning authorities to ensure provision is made for suitable sites to accommodate gypsies and other travellers, reflecting the order of demand in the area.

What are the options?

15.7 The only options available to the Council within the Core Strategy relate to the criteria to be used for the location of gypsy and traveller sites. The "Options Paper" consulted on the following criteria:

  • Access to GP and other health services and schools;
  • Avoiding areas with a high risk of flooding;
  • Access to the road network;
  • Avoiding the potential for noise and other disturbance;
  • Provision of utilities (running water, toilet facilities, etc);
  • Avoiding areas where there could be damage to nature conservation; and,
  • Sites which can be integrated into the landscape without harming the character of the area.

15.8 The consultation generated a number of comments on the criteria, including suggestions for how they could be strengthened by reference to other factors such as waste disposal, public transport and the historic environment.

What is our Preferred Option?

15.9 In light of the consultation on the "Options Paper", the Council consider the following changes should be made to the criteria to be used for selecting the location of gypsy and traveller sites:

  • The first criteria in relation to access to GP and other health services and schools should be more clearly defined and expanded to include reference to public transport;

  • The third criteria in relation to access to the road network should be expanded to include reference to safe access to the road network and provision for parking, turning and servicing on site;

  • The fifth criteria in relation to provision of utilities should be expanded to include reference to waste disposal; and,

  • The sixth criteria in relation to avoiding areas where there could be no damage to nature conservation needs should be more clearly defined and expanded to include reference to the historic environment.

15.10 The Preferred Option for the Core Strategy is the inclusion of a strategic policy for selecting the location of gypsy and travellers sites, if required, to include the following criteria:

  • Convenient access to a GP surgery, school, and public transport;
  • Avoiding areas with a high risk of flooding;
  • Safe access to the road network and provision for parking, turning and servicing on site;
  • Avoiding areas where there is the potential for noise and other disturbance;
  • Provision of utilities (running water, toilet facilities, waste disposal, etc);
  • Avoiding areas where there could be adverse impact on important features of the natural and historic environment; and,
  • Sites which can be integrated into the landscape without harming the character of the area.

Feedback - Gypsies and Travellers
(97) Do you support or object to the preferred criteria for selecting the location of gypsy and traveller sites?
Please explain your response when answering this question.
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