Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan

Consultation Open - Options Report

We are holding a public consultation on the Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan Options Report between January 8 and February 21 (5pm) 2020.

This ‘options report' is designed to highlight the key issues around this specific topic, while suggesting options to address these issues. The format of the document is to provide some background information and then pose a series of ‘options’ as questions. The views received will feed into the next stage, which will be a full draft plan including site allocations, expected in mid 2020. The Report, FAQs,  comment forms, site submission forms and supporting documents are available from the link to the online portal below.

View and respond to the Gyspy and Traveller Local Plan Options Report consultation here.

You can also print the comment form (from the link above) or view the documents in person at Ashford Civic Centre, Ashford Gateway, Charing Library, Tenterden Gateway and Wye Library, where forms are available to complete and return by post. You can also call us on 01233 330229 or email planning.policy@ashford.gov.uk for a copy of the document, comment forms or site submission forms to be sent out to you in the post.

You do not need to answer every question, but where you do, an explanation of your option choice is useful. Comments must be received by 5pm on Friday 21st February 2020 to be accepted.

Why do we need a Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan?

We are committed to meeting the accommodation needs of the Gypsy and Traveller community within the borough, in the same way as the housing needs of the settled community are planned for in the Local Plan 2030. National Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (PPTS) also requires that local planning authorities identify and update annually a five year supply of deliverable sites for travellers, and to identify a supply of specific, deliverable sites, or broad locations for years 6-10 and, where possible, years 11-15.

A Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) is needed to fulfil the council’s obligations under the PPTS and provides a robust assessment of need and supply. The GTAA informs the preparation of the DPD by providing an indication of the number of pitches the site policies in the DPD need to provide. In 2018, we commissioned ARC4 to carry out a GTAA on our behalf.  The survey work was conducted in winter 2017/2018 and was carried out in conjunction with other authorities across East Kent. The results include a proposed number of pitches that are needed in the borough to meet the needs that have been calculated. View the full 2018 GTAA report [pdf] 1211KB.

The adopted Local Plan 2030 proposed a dual approach to traveller site/pitch provision. It allocated three new pitches through Policies S43 at Biddenden and S44 at Westwell. In addition, Policy HOU16 allows for suitable ‘windfall’ (unidentified) pitches to come forward to further contribute to the supply where they meet a set of criteria and Policy HOU17 safeguards existing pitches. However, this does not meet all of the pitch needs identified in the GTAA. In order to meet the outstanding site and pitch needs, we are in the process of preparing this Local Plan to address the shortfall.

The final Local Plan will identify a number of sites for potential residential occupation by gypsies and travellers and will include topic policies relating to gypsy and traveller development, for example, on site and pitch design, and what types of development are suitable in certain locations.

Previous stages of plan production

Issues and Options

An issues and options consultation was carried out in early 2018. The responses from the first consultation will assist the council to analyse the merits and drawbacks of all the practical options available for providing sites for gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople.

The issues and options consultation can be viewed here.