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 South Worcestershire Development Plan sets out future pitch and plot requirements for Travellers and Travelling Showpeople in south Worcestershire and sets out 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.
Policy SWDP17 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The 2014 GTAA has been replaced by a new GTAA published in 2019 which provides the latest pitch requirements for the south Worcestershire councils.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.
Following the assessment of sites, the South Worcestershire Councils considered that seven sites may be suitable to deliver additional Traveller pitches in the next five years. These included existing Travellers sites at Hillbee Farm, Upton-upon-Severn; The Orchard, Knowle Hill, Badsey; Blossom Hill, Village Street, Aldington; The Laurels, Kemerton Rd, Bredon; and two locations in Cropthorne, at Seven Acres, Main Road and Evergreen Bank, Main Road. A new site was proposed at Crossway Green, near Stourport, where temporary planning permission is already in place for a Travellers’ site at Shorthill Caravan Park. To meet the longer term need for pitches, the Development Plan Document included two possible sites within the Worcester “urban extensions”, due to be built on the southern edge of the city at Broomhall and Norton Barracks and at Temple Laugherne on the western edge of Worcester.
Following the Preferred Options consultation, the South Worcestershire Councils considered that additional Traveller pitches may be required to provide five years’ worth of sites against locally set targets. A further “Call for Sites” exercise was therefore undertaken.
Following the additional Call for Sites exercise, a revised Preferred Options consultation was conducted.
Following the revised Preferred Options consultation, an additional "Call for Sites" exercise was undertaken.
The timetable for the preparation of the Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations Development Plan Document is outlined in each of the South Worcestershire Councils Local Development Schemes (LDSs), published in September 2020.
The proposed timetable for the development of the Traveller & Travelling Showpeople Site Allocations DPD is summarised below:
Commencement – September 2014
Preferred Options (Regulation 18) – May/June 2016, February/March 2018, October/November 2020
Publication – September/October 2021
Submission – April 2022
Independent Examination – May/June 2022
Receipt of Inspector’s Report – June 2022
Adoption – July 2022