The government in issuing its new planning policy for Gypsies and Travellers, has insisted it will ensure fairness in the planning system. However, POS beieves LPAs will face practical difficulties in interpreting the new approach, particularly the new definition of 'traveller'.
Catriona Riddell, the POS Stratgeic Planning Subject Specialist, suggested to Planning magazine that determining whether a family had ceased travelling permanently would be a difficult judgement call for local authorities. She said she found it difficult to see how a local authority could prove that a traveller family no longer had any intention of travelling. For example, she said, if a family had temporarily ceased to travel so that its children could go to school and told a local authority it was their intention to travel again in the future, the council "would have to take that at face value - how could they demonstrate differently?"
Nevertheless, Riddell told Planning that the new policy document offers a useful steer for local planning authorities wishing to take responsibility for meeting the needs of Gypsies and Travellers through the local plan process.
Riddell suggested that the guidance gives authorities a "clear push" that this should be doe through "inset sites" - small sites taken out of the green belt for specific purposes. "That's the way it's going to go," she said.