The Council needs to plan for meeting the needs of Gypsies and Travellers, and also, separately the needs of Travelling Show People. National guidance to councils on how to calculate the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers has changed recently and the council now needs to consider whether it is best to prepare a separate document for meeting the needs of these communities or address their needs through the Land Allocations and Development Policies documents. Following a forthcoming review of the evidence on the accommodation needs of these communities we will determine whether to address these in the other local plan documents, or if the scale of need is significant, potentially through a separate Development Plan Document.
The district has a history of being a popular location for Travellers to make their home. It contains approximately 16 private sites, mostly in Heysham Central and Westgate wards, and 19 pitches on Mellishaw Park site, which the council manages on behalf of Lancashire County Council.
A new Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (pdf, 1.3mb)(GTAA) was completed in September 2017. It highlighted that:
- There are approximately 112 households with a ‘White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller’ ethnicity’ in the district;
- There are 82 pitches across the District, of which 57 are occupied by Gypsy and Traveller households, 12 pitches are vacant and 8 are unoccupied on family sites, with a further 5 occupied by non-Gypsy and Traveller households;
- The study found evidence of Gypsy and Traveller pitch need over the next five years (2017/18 to 2021/22) equating to 11 pitches under a cultural definition, or 4 pitches under the PPTS 2015 definition of Gypsy/Traveller;
- There is no current or expected future need for Travelling Showpeople plots in the district;
- There is no expected need for transit pitches within the district.
The Council is committed to bringing forward a separate DPD to allocate sites for the unmet current and future need for gypsy and travellers within the district. This will include inviting landowners, members of the public and prospective developers to suggest locations for Traveller sites known as a ‘call for sites’ process. Any sites proposed would need to be assessed for their suitability, their availability and their achievability. Sites that meet these tests will be considered for allocation. The City Council will start preparing the Site Allocations document in 2018.
Last updated: 22 November 2017