Gypsy and Traveller Local Plan
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] 1240KB.
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.
The timetable for the future production and public consultation stages of the plan are set out in the updated Local Development Scheme.
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.
An options consultation was carried out in early 2020.
This ‘options report' was designed to highlight the key issues around this specific topic, while suggesting options to address these issues. The format of the document was 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 (Regulation 19) including site allocations, expected to be published in late 2021. (Please note that the full timetable will be set out in a revised Local Development Scheme expected in May 2021).