South Gloucestershire Local Plan: Policies, Sites and Places Plan - Regulation 18 Consultation (2015)

South Gloucestershire Local Plan: Policies, Sites and Places Plan - Regulation 18 Consultation (2015)

11. Revised guidance: Planning policy for traveller sites (August 2015)

11.1 An updated version of 'Planning policy for traveller sites' (PPTS) was issued by DCLG on 31 August 2015 (available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/planning-policy-for-traveller-sites). The main changes comprise additional guidance for local planning authorities in relation to large-scale unauthorised sites and greater protection in relation to Gypsy/Traveller proposals in the Green Belt and open countryside. To support these changes, PPTS now includes a change to the definition of Gypsies and Travellers and Travelling Showpeople (Annex 1) for the purposes of planning policy.

11.2 The definition is seeking to effectively remove those who have ceased to travel permanently as falling outside of the definition of what it means to be a Gypsy/Traveller of a 'nomadic lifestyle' or Travelling Showperson. However, additional considerations have been added to the definition of Gypsy/Traveller (para 2, Annex 1), which results in the change to the definition not being quite as straight forward as simply saying those who have ceased to travel permanently are not Gypsy/Travellers. Consideration also needs to be given to their ethnicity, for example, Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers who largely reside in our area, all have protected characteristics as an ethnic group under the Equalities Act 2010.

11.3 In light of this new guidance, the Council needs to carry out a refresh of its existing evidence base (Gypsy Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) 2013) that underpins the policies of the adopted Core Strategy and emerging PSP Plan. The local planning authority will also need to consider how it intends to interpret, determine and implement the new definition, including the additional considerations, when conducting its refresh of the GTAA.

11.4 Given the pause to the PSP Plan, there is now time for the Council to refresh its GTAA 2013 prior to submission and as a result, ensure that the policy approach proposed in the PSP Plan (Policies 45, 46 and 47) continues to be compliant with national policy.