National Planning Policy Context
The Government’s Planning Policy for Traveller Sites states that local planning authorities should, in producing their Local Plan “identify and update annually, a supply of specific deliverable sites sufficient to provide five years’ worth of sites against their locally set targets”. Further, Local Plans should “identify a supply of specific, developable sites or broad locations for growth, for years 6 to 10 and, where possible, for years 11-15.”
The Planning Policy for Traveller Sites says that to be deliverable, sites should be:
- available now,
- offer a suitable location for development now, and
- be achievable with a realistic prospect that housing will be delivered on the site within five years and in particular that development on the site is viable.
To be considered developable, sites should be:
- in a suitable location for traveller site development
- and there should be a reasonable prospect that the site is available and could be viably developed at the point envisaged.
The Planning Policy for Traveller Sites also says that “criteria should be set to guide land supply allocations where there is identified need. Where there is no identified need, criteria-based policies should be included to provide a basis for decisions in case applications nevertheless come forward. Criteria based policies should be fair and should facilitate the traditional and nomadic life of travellers while respecting the interests of the settled community.”
Local Planning Policy Context
Policy SWDP17 (Travellers and Travelling Showpeople) in the adopted South Worcestershire Development Plan set out pitch and plot requirements for Travellers and Travelling Showpeople in south Worcestershire and includes criteria to guide land supply allocations and provide a basis for decisions when planning applications come forward.
Policies SWDP45/1 and 45/2 propose up to 20 pitches through the identification of two sites (up to 10 pitches each) on the proposed Worcester South and Worcester West urban extensions.
The South Worcestershire Development Plan Review (SWDP Review) was submitted in September 2023 (South Worcestershire Development Plan Review | Local Plan Examination Services (localplanservices.co.uk) and once adopted will replace the SWDP (2016). In the SWDP Review, Policy SWDPR 20 updates and will replace policy SWDP17 and policy SWDPR 60 updates and will replace policies SWDP45/1 and 45/2.
Policy SWDPR20 says that the South Worcestershire Councils will identify additional sites in a Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations Development Plan Document.
Evidence Base - Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA)
The GTAA, published in 2019, provides the latest pitch requirements for the south Worcestershire councils.
What Has Been Done So Far
In 2015 the South Worcestershire Councils undertook a “Call for Sites” which provided an opportunity for interested parties to suggest any sites that they considered might be suitable to be allocated for Traveller or Travelling Showpeople use. This included existing sites which might be suitable for expansion or intensification as well as land for new sites. Proposals were invited for permanent residential sites or transit sites. All of the sites submitted were assessed against specific planning criteria to assess their potential suitability. See link below:
Following the assessment of sites, the South Worcestershire Councils consulted on the first (of three) Preferred Options (published in 2016) (see link below):
The south Worcestershire councils were unable to progress this further and another call for sites was undertaken in November 2016 (see link below):
Following the additional Call for Sites exercise, a (second) revised Preferred Options consultation was conducted in February 2018 (see link below):
Following the revised Preferred Options consultation, an additional "Call for Sites" exercise was undertaken in October 2020 (see link below):
Following the additional Call for sites exercise, a(third) Revised Preferred Options consultation was undertaken in May to July 2021 (see link below):
In November 2022, the south Worcestershire councils published the South Worcestershire Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Policy and Site Allocations DPD Publication (Regulation 19) for consultation, which closed on 13 December 2022. This was the last stage of public engagement before the DPD is submitted for formal examination by the Government's Planning Inspectorate.The latest version of the DPD included a list of proposed Traveller site allocations, policy criteria against which new Traveller development would be considered and a design policy for Traveller sites (see link below):
There are no current consultations on the Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations DPD
In Spring 2024 it is proposed to submit the DPD to the Planning Inspectorate for examination. More detail on the expected timetable will follow in due course.