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DCLG revises Traveller Policy and introduces 'intentional unauthorised development'

11 Sep 2015

Further to the Coalition Government’s 2014 consultation on proposed changes to planning policy and guidance in respect of planning and travellers, DCLG has issued a new Planning Policy for Traveller Sites.

The Policy requires LPAs to set pitch targets and identify a 5 year supply of deliverable and sustainable traveller sites in their local plans.  The level of local provision and availability of such sites are considerations when determining planning applications, with an inability to demonstrate a 5 year supply of deliverable sites being a material planning consideration when considering applications for temporary permission except on Green Belt, sites protected under the Birds and Habitats Directives, SSSIs, Local Green Spaces, AONBs, and/or National Parks or Broads.

In rural or semi-rural settings, LPAs need to ensure that any traveller site does not dominate the nearest settled community and, where there is a lack of affordable land to meet, local traveller needs LPAs in rural areas should consider releasing affordable traveller sites.

The Policy seeks to protect the Green Belt and states that any traveller site in the Green Belt is inappropriate development.  Subject to the best interests of any child, “personal circumstances and unmet need are unlikely to clearly outweigh harm to the Green Belt and any other harm so as to establish very special circumstances” in which such inappropriate development in the Green Belt should be approved.

On a separate but related note, DCLG has introduced new national planning policy which makes intentional unauthorised development a material consideration to be taken into account when determining all new planning applications and appeals received from 31 August 2015 with the Government concerned in particular about such intentional unauthorised development in the Green Belt.  The policy was considered solely in respect of traveller occupation in the 2014 consultation but has been rolled out separately in respect of all intentional unauthorised developments.  It is to be reviewed in six months.

The Planning Policy for Traveller Sites is available here.

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