Planning policy for traveller sites: impact assessment

Document type
Impact Assessment
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. Dept. for Communities and Local Government
Publisher
Dept. for Communities and Local Government
Date of publication
1 March 2012
Subject(s)
Housing and Homelessness, Minority Groups
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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National planning policy and guidance for gypsy, traveller, and travelling showpeople caravan sites is currently set out in circulars 01/2006: Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites and Circular 04/2007: Planning for Travelling Showpeople. These are used by local planning authorities, the Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to plan for traveller sites and make decisions about planning applications for traveller sites.

The Government is taking forward planning reforms to pass control to local communities and make the system simpler and more accessible. The Government believes that planning is best carried out by local councils and communities that know the requirements of their areas and not unelected regional bodies. Circulars 01/2006 and 04/2007 have become outdated in this context.

This impact assessment considers three options: to do nothing; to withdraw the circulars; and to withdraw the circulars and replace with a new single planning policy. The first two options would not achieve Government’s overarching aim of effective provision of authorised sites for travellers to facilitate the traditional way of life of these groups so the third option is preferred.

As stated the Government’s fundamental policy aim is fair and effective provision of authorised sites for travellers to facilitate the traditional and nomadic way of life of these groups whilst respecting the interests of the settled community. The first set of aims relates to the need to have an updated, fair, light-touch policy that puts provision into the hands of elected local councils and works within Government’s broader planning reforms, in particular the intention to abolish the regional planning system. The new policy aims to enable local authorities to: make their own assessment of need for the purposes of planning; plan for sites over a reasonable timescale; protect Green Belt from inappropriate development; and reduce tensions between settled and traveller communities in relation to the planning system. This will lead to the provision of appropriate sites in appropriate places and support enforcement action if local authorities have complied with the policy.

The second set of aims relates to the need to consolidate and streamline the circulars into a shorter single planning policy in the context of Government’s broader reforms to simplify and consolidate national planning policy. To do this the Government will: remove repetition of national planning policy that is set out elsewhere; remove unjustified differences in policy in the two circulars and between the two circulars and other policy statements including housing policies in the National Planning Policy Framework; and remove unnecessary guidance so that planning policy documents contain only policy.

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