Planning Portal News – 3rd September 2015 – redefinition of traveller sites regime

The Government has revised its special planning policy for travellers. From this week it will only apply to those “who lead a genuine travelling lifestyle”.

Ministers insisted this would mean that any application for a permanent site, including caravan sites, by someone who does not travel will be considered in the same way as an application from the so-called settled population.

The policy, drawn up by the Department for Communities and Local Government stated that if a local planning authority cannot demonstrate an up–to-date five-year supply of deliverable sites, this should be a significant material consideration in any subsequent planning decision when considering applications for the grant of temporary planning permission for traveller pitches.

However, there will be exceptions, designed to buttress the protection of green belt land and sites in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and land designated as local green space or protected under the EC’s Birds and Habitat directives.

The policy states that inappropriate development is harmful to the green belt and should not be approved, except in very special circumstances.

DCLG claims the new policy made clear the need to ensure fairness in the system, with planning policy reflecting the requirement that caravan sites should be made available for those who travel permanently.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “I’m determined to ensure fairness in the planning system, so everyone abides by the same rules.

“This new policy strengthens the hand of councils to tackle unauthorised development in their area, ensures all communities are treated equally and that the protection of the green belt is enforceable.”

Planning minister Brandon Lewis added: “Unauthorised traveller sites can blight communities, causing misery for their neighbours and creating resentment that planning rules don’t seem to be applied fairly.”

(Ed: the Government Planning Portal can be reached on the  Links Page )