Central Bedfordshire Draft Local Plan (July 2017)
11.1.1 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.
11.2.1 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.
11.2.2 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.
11.2.3 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.
11.3.1 Local Plans are required to set pitch targets for Gypsy and Travellersand 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
11.3.3 As a result of the needs assessment being undertaken, the Central Bedfordshire Local Plan will need to allocate a total of 23 pitches 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.
11.3.4 In addition to the above, there is a need to make provision within the plan for 'unknown' requirements. During the study there were a number of households that were unavailable to take part in the surveys for a variety of reasons, such as being out at work, currently travelling, not allowing access to their site or not wanting to answer the questions within the survey. As a result of this, the study identifies that there are 146 'unknown' households which have not been included within the needs assessment.
11.3.5 Using household formation rates, the 146 unknowns translate in to an additional need of 48 pitches. Therefore, in addition to allocating 23 pitches, the Local Plan will also require a criteria-based policy to consider future planning applications for Gypsy and Traveller Sites in order to deliver up to 48 additional pitches.
11.3.6 The total provision to be made within the local plan equates to up to 71 pitches.
11.3.7 With regard to Travelling Showpeople, it has been identified that there is a need for 21 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.
11.3.8 There is also an 'unknown' requirement for 10 plots in relation to Travelling Showpeople. The total provision to be made within the local plan equates to 31 plots.
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.
The Council will allocate 23 pitches over this period, with 14 of these to be delivered by 2021.
The remaining pitches will be delivered via a criteria-based policy to consider future planning applications for Gypsy and Traveller Sites (see Policy H8) in order to deliver up to 48 additional pitches.
With regards Travelling Showpeople, the Council will facilitate the development of up to 31 plots in Central Bedfordshire over the period 2015 - 2035.
The Council will allocate 21 plots over this period, with 16 of these to be delivered by 2021 to ensure that the Council has an up to date 5 year supply.
The remaining plots will be delivered via a criteria-based policy to consider future planning applications for Gypsy and Traveller / Travelling Showpeople Sites (see Policy H9) in order to deliver up to 10 additional plots.
The following sections contain a series of Core Policies on
economic growth, housing, historic and built environment,
environmental management, transport and infrastructure. It
is through the delivery and monitoring of these policies
that the Vision and Strategic Objectives of this Central
Bedfordshire Local Plan will be achieved.
 The Housing and Planning Act, 2016; Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (PPTS), 2015; National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), 2012; and Planning Practice Guidance (PPG), 2014.
 See glossary
 See glossary