Local Planning Authorities are required by national policy to allocate land for Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople accommodation. As part of this process, Forest of Dean District Council is carrying out an assessment to identify suitable sites.
How was the number of pitches decided?
As required by the Housing Act 2004, a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment was carried out for Gloucestershire. This survey of local need was later reviewed by the University of Birmingham and the University of Salford and was found to be robust.
The Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment report published October 2007, suggests that 30 pitches are provided in the Forest of Dean District. A pitch is large enough to accommodate one household and a Gypsy or Traveller site will often accommodate more than one pitch. Four pitches were permitted in the district since this assessment was carried out. The Forest of Dean District Council now intends to identify approximately 26 pitches for Gypsies and Travellers and to consider potential sites for Travelling Showpeople.
What about the abolition of the Regional Spatial Strategy?
The Draft Regional Spatial Strategy required Forest of Dean District Council to allocate land for about 30 Gypsy and Traveller pitches and to also identify land for Travelling Showpeople plots. The government recently announced the abolition of the Regional Spatial Strategy.
The figure of 30 pitches in the Regional Spatial Strategy was based on the Gloucestershire Gypsy Traveller Accommodation Assessment. This assessment is still valid, despite the abolition of the Regional Spatial Strategy. In addition, the government does not currently propose to abolish the requirement to carry out a Gypsy Traveller Accommodation Assessment or to withdraw Circular 01/06 which requires local authorities to allocate sites.
Recent government guidance states that councils should continue to identify sites in accordance with current policy and that existing Gypsy Traveller Accommodation Assessments are a good starting point.
The Forest of Dean District Council intends to identify potential sites, but is mindful of emerging government policy.
How will sites be identified?
The district council made a public call for Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople sites and reviewed other sources of land in the district. The sites suggested by the public can be viewed on our consultation portal . No decision has been taken on these sites and some may be unsuitable.
As agreed at a Cabinet meeting on 9th July 2010 a group of elected Councillors will consider potential sites, site criteria and the best way to engage the public. A report on this work will then be presented to Cabinet, later this year.
During the consideration of potential sites that may be suitable for gypsy and traveller accommodation early in 2010, a number of sites were suggested by members of the public. Some suggestions were received from owners or potential occupiers, others from agents. In addition the Council looked at the potential of known publicly owned land, sites which had been suggested for development for housing and land presently under used or previously used for employment. In addition land used for the accommodation of Gypsies and travellers already and which had planning permission (including temporary permission) was added. The resulting List of potential sites considered in 2010 to view. These sites represent a stage in the process of site identification, and carry no endorsement or otherwise from the Council. Some may no longer be available and others not listed may prove to be more suitable.
How do I get more information?
If you have any questions or suggestions, please email Forward Plan at email@example.com or phone 01594 810000.