News - Councils get Power to set Gypsy and Traveller Site Targets

NEW - 28th March 2012

E-mail Reply from Councillor Ron Whittaker
26th March 2012
RE: Inside Housing: Travellers to be banned from green belt

Phil, yes but who are they kidding, they say "Inappropriate development" but still retain that section that says, special circumstance if no available sites are forthcoming then sites in green belt should not be rejected, they cant have it both ways here, GREEN BELT MEANS GREEN BELT.

Councillor Ron Whittaker

E-mail from Phil Robinson, Planning Policy, Conservation and Design Manager, Bournemouth Borough Council
26th March 2012
RE: Inside Housing: Travellers to be banned from green belt

This is the report on the issue from today's professional planning press.

Phil Robinson
Planning Policy, Conservation and Design Manager, Bournemouth Borough Council

Councils get power to set traveller site targets

By Susanna Millar - Monday, 26 March 2012

Local councils are to be given more control over planning for gypsy and travellers under new rules issued by the government yesterday.

The revised planning guidance, cut down from 54 pages to just eight, gets rid of central targets for local councils to provide traveller pitches as suggested by communities secretary Eric Pickles last year.

Ministers believe central government targets have harmed community relations over the last few years increasing the number of unauthorised sites and compelling councils to encroach onto the green belt.

The new policy, which comes into force tomorrow, encourages councils to crack down on the number of unauthorised developments and stresses that traveller sites built in the green belt, whether temporary or permanent, should always be considered inappropriate development.

But the policy also urges local authorities to better plan for travellers, aiming to increase the number of legal sites in appropriate locations, to address under-provision and maintain an appropriate level of supply.

Councils should make sure their local plan includes "fair, realistic and inclusive" policies and identify a five-year supply of specific deliverable sites against their locally set targets, [my emphasis PER] the policy says.

The Department for Communities and Local Government hopes that the changes will reduce tensions between settled and traveller communities.

Local government minister Bob Neill said: "These new policies will allow local authorities to govern their own affairs while ensuring that both travellers and the settled communities get a fair deal through the planning system."

The government said it has sought to give incentives to councils to provide new and refurbished traveller sites by including them in its New Homes Bonus scheme and securing £60 million Traveller Pitch Funding to help councils and other registered providers build new traveller sites.

The government has also been looking at the inequalities faced by traveller groups and will shortly be publishing a report on this.

E-mail from Phil Robinson, Planning Policy, Conservation and Design Manager, Bournemouth Borough Council
26th March 2012
RE: Inside Housing: Travellers to be banned from green belt

The link to the new Planning Policy for traveller sites is:- www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/2113371.pdf

As Cllr Whittaker has said the key wording for the Green Belt is to be found in Policy E. It does not seem very different from the position we were in previously. However, Policy B paragraph 7, linked to paragraph 9c) is a useful clarification of occasions when we can work across borders to make provision for sites, both permanent and transit.

Whilst I do not see this as an immediate solution to the issues of making provision in the Borough, it will take considerable negotiating skills to get our neighbours to meet our provisions as well as their own, at least it does open the possibility of doing this.

I am afraid this is so hot off the presses that I have not fully digested all the issues covered but I thought I would at least forward you the link and give some very initial views.

Phil Robinson
Planning Policy, Conservation and Design Manager, Bournemouth Borough Council

E-mail from Councillor Ron Whittaker to Ken Mantock, Bournemouth Civic Society Chairman
26th March 2012
RE: Inside Housing: Travellers to be banned from green belt

KEN,

Gypsies and Travellers to be banned from green belt

Thanks for this information coming from this two party Government, sadly it tells me nothing new here, it STILL REMAINS the words, "Inappropriate development," in "very special circumstances". so nothing has changed, they are trying to put over to the public they are the friends of the Green belt, well if that was so, then they should delete reference to "VERY SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES".

The document from Bakers last year said "Green belt the very special circumstances has been recognised but as this includes whether or not enough sites are available elsewhere then sites in the Green Belt should not be rejected." unfortunately those officers with Bakers had failed to carry out any detail research/investigation in other possible sites, Which we know in our Borough that we don't have those sort of available sites for this purpose.

So this announcement brings me little comfort.

Councillor Ron Whittaker