Gypsy & Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA)
Representation ID: 9708
Respondent: mrs Alison humphreys
METHODOLOGY - Flawed. Site listed in GTAA as part of calculation of supply (Valley View) listed as permanent but should be listed as a temporary site for a specific family
The main objective for the local plan is sustainability. As such, I am concerned about inaccurate information being used in the reporting procedure. I have one specific site (Valley View) that I can use as an example but would question the viability of the report and the GTAA for Central Bedfordshire based on this error.
By new planning definition, a gypsy site is only required if it is proven to be for a person that travels to provide for their living. This means a person that travels away with a touring caravan in tow to live in whilst going about their business to make a living.
The site at Valley View is listed as one of the 37 official gypsy sites under the GTAA but it should only be listed as a temporary site. The official planning permission for this site lists it as a mobile home site. This holds the permission for one mobile home which may be lived in by any person (not specifically a gypsy) and specifically states that there is to be no touring caravans on site. Furthermore, the owner of this site makes his living not through travelling with a touring caravan but rather from a large mobile home park in Bedmond that holds sixty mobile homes (Newlands Park WD5 0RR). The Valley View Site therefore should not be placed on the official list of Gypsy sites under planning rules.
With regard to the Newlands Park site, Mrs Anne Main, MP for St Albans held a parliamentary debate on 4th November 2014 in which she covered the rights of the residents. I would suggest this debate is read to get the whole picture and at very least proves that the owner of Valley View, Mr Golby is by definition not a travelling Gypsy. In reviewing this evidence I believe it would be difficult to argue otherwise.
The other family residing at Valley view were part of a planning application that was called in by Secretary of State CB/13/03219. This resulted in a temporary permission being granted for 1 pitch for 3 years until 2019 in addition to the permanent mobile home that is already there. In order to gain this temporary permission the applicants husband was viewed as travelling gypsy. The evidence used to come to this decision were five receipts for petrol and toll charges. This in itself does not prove that a person is earning their living through a need to travel but instead just shows that they were away from home at the time. The touring caravans to my knowledge never leave the site except for holiday purposes. I realise that this point is a government issue, however I feel that it further proves that there have been oversights when regarding legislation for this gypsy site. This could prove that there has also been oversight for other gypsy sites on the GTAA listing for Central Bedfordshire.
I believe the incorrect listing has come about as this particular site was ear marked as a potential gypsy site under the planning departments wish to engineer this as windfall site. In doing this they ignore the AONB status of the area and other factors including a number of previous planning applications from the owner of the site for a house and multiple mobile homes. I would argue that this is further proof of someone who does not necessarily consider themselves as a traveller but rather has been able to gain from the councils need at the time to set up a large number of new gypsy sites. I believe this approach is flawed as shown by this example as it gives encouragement for unlawful sites in the future.
I am concerned that this site should not remain listed as it is now because it will cloud further applications from the site owner to make the temporary site permanent.
I have only objected at this stage as I was waiting on replies from various council members to verify the evidence given. This has put me outside of the original deadline. In fact I felt so despondent that I have only just decided that my objection should be heard, I would really appreciate if you look further into the evidence that I have put forward.