Policy HOU 5: Gypsy and Traveller site provision
- In line with LPS Policy SC 7 'Gypsies and Travellers and Travelling Showpeople', Gypsy and Traveller sites will be allocated or approved to meet the needs set out in the most recent Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA). The GTAA (2018) identifies a need in the borough for the following provision over the remaining plan period (2017 to 2030):
- 32 additional permanent residential pitches for Gypsies and Travellers; and
- a transit site of between 5 and 10 pitches for Gypsies and Travellers.
- The following sites as shown on the adopted policies map are allocated for Gypsy and Traveller sites to ensure a deliverable supply of pitches:
- Site G&T 1 'Land east of Railway Cottages, Nantwich (Baddington Park)' (2 additional permanent pitches);
- Site G&T 2 'Land at Coppenhall Moss, Crewe' (7 permanent pitches);
- Site G&T 3 'New Start Park, Wettenhall Road, Nantwich' (8 permanent pitches);
- Site G&T 4 'Three Oakes Site, Booth Lane, Middlewich' (24 permanent pitches);
- Site G&T 5 'Cledford Hall, Cledford Lane, Middlewich' (10 transit pitches); and
- Site G&T 6 'The Oakes, Mill Lane, Smallwood' (4 additional permanent pitches).
- In the open countryside, outside the Green Belt, Gypsy and Traveller pitches, over and above those provided for on allocated sites, will only be permitted through the application of Criterion 3(i) of LPS Policy PG 6 'Open countryside' and Policy PG 10 'Infill villages' or where it is evidenced that the intended occupiers of a proposed pitch:
- have a genuine need for culturally appropriate accommodation in Cheshire East; and
- cannot meet their accommodation needs by occupying an existing pitch within an established, authorised Gypsy and Traveller site or a new pitch on an allocated site.
- Where these requirements are met, new pitches should be provided within an established Gypsy and Traveller site wherever possible, or, if not, as a small scale extension to it. A pitch on a new, stand-alone site will only be permitted where it is demonstrated that neither of these options are feasible.
8.28 National planning guidance requires that local planning authorities very strictly limit new Traveller site development in open countryside that is away from existing settlements. LPS Policy PG 6 ‘Open countryside’ restricts development in the open countryside to that appropriate to a rural area with limited exceptions listed including limited infilling where the requirements of the policy are met.
8.29 As set out in of the LPS, Gypsy and Traveller sites in the Green Belt are considered to be inappropriate development.
8.30 In light of government changes to Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (2015), particularly the change to the definition of who constitutes a ‘Traveller’ for the purpose of planning, the council has updated its evidence base, on a sub-regional basis, on the need for additional Gypsy and Traveller accommodation. The policy reflects and seeks to address the updated assessment of accommodation needs. The GTAA (2018) identifies the need for 32 pitches for households who meet the planning definition, as set out in Annex 1 of Planning Policy for Traveller sites (2015), up to 2030.
8.31 The GTAA (2018) acknowledges that it was not possible to determine the travelling status of all of the households surveyed, and a proportion of these households may meet the definition provided in Annex 1 of Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (2015). The GTAA (2018) identifies that two additional pitches may be needed to address the potential needs of households where the travelling status has not been able to be determined through the GTAA. The GTAA (2018) also identifies a need for 3 additional pitches in the plan period for households who may need culturally appropriate accommodation but fall outside of the planning definition provided in Annex 1 of Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (2015). Proposals for further Gypsy and Traveller sites in the borough arising in the plan period will be considered according to the policy approach set out in Policy HOU 5 ‘Gypsy and Traveller site provision’.
8.32 Applicants who bring forward proposals on sites not allocated in the plan will need to demonstrate that they meet the definition provided for by the government’s Planning Policy for Travellers Sites and that they have a local need which cannot be met by existing authorised or allocated sites. The council is also mindful of its duties under the Equality Act (2010). The policy, through a criteria based approach, also seeks to provide for the accommodation needs of ethnic Gypsies and Travellers who fall outside the planning definition but nevertheless still need culturally appropriate accommodation.
8.33 Occupation of any development for consented Gypsy and Traveller sites will be restricted, via condition.
8.34 In line with LPS Policy SC 7 'Gypsies and Travellers and Travelling Showpeople', there is a presumption against the loss of existing permanent consented Gypsy and Traveller sites where this would exacerbate or result in an identified shortfall unless suitable replacement provision is found.
8.35 The council will monitor the provision of additional pitches for Gypsies and Travellers that are delivered during the plan period. The effectiveness of the policy will be kept under review either as part of a local plan update or if there are any significant changes in the requirements for pitch provision, identified through monitoring, changes in national planning policy or as evidenced, for example, through a review of the GTAA.
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