Central Bedfordshire Pre-submission Local Plan (January 2018)
10.1.1 National Planning policy requires all Local Planning Authorities to assess the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers (G&T) alongside the settled population, and develop a strategy that addresses any unmet need that is identified.
10.2.1 For the purposes of planning, the definition of gypsies and travellers was changed in the revised 2015 Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (PPTS). The key change to the definition was the removal of the term persons….who have ceased to travel permanently meaning that those who have stopped travelling no longer fall under the planning definition of a Traveller in terms of assessing the needs for accommodation.
10.2.2 The definition of travelling has been considered through case law and it is the understanding of the Central Bedfordshire study that the implication of these rulings in terms of applying the new definition is that it will only include those who travel (or have ceased to travel temporarily) for work purposes and in doing so stay away from their usual place of residence. As a result of the change in the definition, the need within Central Bedfordshire has reduced by 43% since the previous assessment was undertaken in 2014.
10.2.3 At the time of writing the PPTS is still relatively recent, has not been tested through the local plan process and only a small number of relevant appeal decisions have been issued by the Planning Inspectorate as to how the new definition should be applied. Whilst the latter support the view that households need to be able to demonstrate that they travel for work purposes to meet the new definition and stay away from their usual place of residence when doing so, once the new definition has been tested, there is the possibility that it could change, or further guidance issued as to how the new definition is implemented. The need identified for Central Bedfordshire is therefore potentially subject to change.
10.3.1 Local Plans are required to set pitch targets for Gypsy and Travellers and plot targets for Travelling Showpeople which addresses the likely accommodation needs in the area, based on local evidence. The Plan is required to:
- Identify a five year supply of specific deliverable sites and other, developable sites to accommodate growth for years 6-10 and where possible 11-15;
- Ensure the number of pitches and plots reflect the size and location of a site, and the size of the surrounding population; and
- Protect local amenity and the environment.
10.3.2 Accordingly the Council commissioned consultants ORS to prepare a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) which forecasts Central Bedfordshire's G&T accommodation needs for the Plan period 2015 to 2035. The GTAA has identified the number of pitches needed to 2035 and outlined important observations on the specific needs of the Gypsy and Traveller community in Central Bedfordshire, which have been considered in preparing this Local Plan.
10.3.3 The GTAA identifies that 71 pitches will be required up to 2035 to meet identified needs. 14 of these pitches need to be delivered by 2021 in order to ensure Central Bedfordshire has an up to date 5 year supply.
10.3.4 With regard to Travelling Showpeople, it has been identified that there is a need for 31 additional plots across Central Bedfordshire to 2035. 16 of these plots need to be delivered by 2021 in order to ensure Central Bedfordshire has an up to date 5 year supply.
Gypsy and Travellers
The Council will facilitate the development of up to 71 pitches to meet the Gypsy and Traveller accommodation need in Central Bedfordshire over the period 2015 - 2035.
Applications will be determined against Policy H8: Assessing planning applications for Gypsy and Traveller sites, and other relevant policies in this Plan.
With regards Travelling Showpeople, the Council will facilitate the development of up to 31 plots in Central Bedfordshire over the period 2015 - 2035.
Applications will be determined against Policy H9:
Assessing planning applications for Travelling Showpeople
sites, and other relevant policies in this Plan.