“ENCOURAGING PROGRESS” ON PLANNING POLICY FOR TRAVELLER SITES
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“ENCOURAGING PROGRESS” ON PLANNING POLICY FOR TRAVELLER SITES

Significant policy developments on planning guidelines for traveller sites have been welcomed by Mid Worcestershire’s MP Peter Luff.

Within Worcestershire, Wychavon has become a major magnet for unauthorised traveller encampments and a large number of planning applications from the travelling community have also been made in recent years. Commenting, the MP spoke of “a growing view that the planning system discriminated heavily against the settled community” and said “the increasing resentment this was causing must be tackled in the interests of all local people, including the travellers themselves.”

A recent letter to the MP from communities and local government minister Bob Neill, confirms that the Localism Bill, currently before parliament, will make local authorities responsible for determining the right level of site provision in their area.

The Minister confirmed that the department would also be publishing a public consultation setting out their proposed new traveller planning policy shortly. He said that the new policy will provide a fairer framework within which both planning and enforcement decisions can be made.

Peter said,

“Unauthorised developments in my constituency have created big problems for both the district and parish councils. We have worked together to put pressure on the government to bring forward both legislation and revised planning statements to deal with the issue of gypsies and travellers. Although the changes can’t happen overnight, it is encouraging to see progress made.

“In addition I am very encouraged by the Minister’s commitment to look at ways the department can work with councils and the police to help them tackle unauthorised sites more effectively.”

The Localism Bill will abolish Regional Spatial Strategies with their traveller pitch targets. It also contains measures to increase the powers that local authorities have to enforce breaches of planning control and to limit the opportunities for retrospective planning applications.

ENDS

For further information contact Peter Luff on 01905 763952


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