Gypsy and Traveller Plan Site Options

Gypsy and Traveller Plan Site Options May 2014

5. Preparing the Gypsy and Traveller Site Options Consultation Document

Development of the Document

5.1. This Plan has been prepared in accordance with:

National and local policies:

  • The National Planning Policy Framework 2012
  • Planning Policy for Traveller Sites 2012
  • Sevenoaks District Core Strategy 2011
  • The Community Plan for Sevenoaks 2013
  • Statement of Community Involvement 2006

Evidence base:

  • Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Assessment for Sevenoaks (2012)

Key Assessments and Appraisals:

  • Sustainability Appraisal of the potential site allocations highlighting any potential conflicts and measures to mitigate these, and ensuring the Plan is aligned with the principles of sustainable development.
  • Equalities Impact Assessment to ensure the document has been prepared in an inclusive manner, and to identify any impacts on specific groups of race, gender, disability, age or religion.

Engagement with key stakeholders including consultation on:

  • Core Strategy criteria-based Policy SP6 (2011)
  • Call for Sites 2010, 2011, 2012

Evidence Base

5.2. In September 2011 the Council commissioned the Salford Housing and Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) at the University of Salford to produce a Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Needs Assessment (GTTAA) for the district to replace the study formally undertaken by David Couttie Associates in 2006.

5.3. The GTTAA for Sevenoaks was completed in March 2012, and forms key part of the evidence base for the preparation of the Gypsy and Traveller Plan. It considered the need for permanent pitches in Sevenoaks District in the period 2012-2026. Table 1 sets out the identified need. The assessment of need was based on interviews with over 50% of existing site-based households currently living in the District, interviews with 20 gypsy and traveller families in bricks and mortar housing and engagement with key stakeholders (see table 1). Households on unauthorised sites and sites with temporary permission were considered by the study to identify their immediate and future needs for permanent pitches. As the assessment sought to identify the need for permanent site-based accommodation, households living on pitches with temporary planning permission were considered to constitute part of the figure for the number of pitches that need to be allocated. Granting permanent permissions for existing temporary pitches would contribute towards achieving the need identified, and is considered as a potential supply option in this consultation.

Table 1: Identified Need in Sevenoaks District


Not applying planning definition

Applying planning definition

2012 - 2016



2017 - 2021



2022 - 2026



2012 - 2026



5.4. As identified in paragraph 3.3 of this document, the planning definition of gypsy and traveller excludes households that have stopped travelling for reasons other than their own family's or dependants' educational or health needs or old age. There is no clarification provided in national policy on when a household is considered to have 'stopped travelling'. However, the GTTAA asked households how often they travelled and if they no longer travelled why this was the case. The assessment was, therefore, able to estimate those existing households that no longer met the planning definition of a gypsy and traveller and reduce the identified need accordingly.

5.5. The study identified that Sevenoaks District has a sufficient provision of sites for Travelling Showpeople to meet the requirements of the plan period and therefore these figures only include those that meet the planning definition of gypsies and travellers.

5.6. Since the assessment was carried out 1 additional permanent pitch has been granted in the District by appeal at Land at Marwood House, Stones Cross Road, Crockenhill (SE/ 11/02166/FUL), as a result the residual need for permanent pitches is 71 in the period 2012-2026, if the planning definition analysis is applied.

Consultation Questions - Evidence Base

Q3 Do you consider that the Needs Assessment is robust and that the figure of 72 pitches to be provided in the period 2012-2026 is appropriate?

Q4 Is the Council correct to plan for Gypsies and Travellers that meet the planning definition?


Call for Sites

5.7. Calls for gypsy and traveller sites to be put forward to the Council were included in the Allocations (Options) consultation in 2010 and the Development Management: Draft Policies for Consultation in 2011. Following this, the Council formally decided to allocate sites for Gypsies and Travellers through a Gypsy and Traveller Site Provision Plan rather than in the Allocations and Development Management Plan.

5.8. A third Call for Sites was undertaken in August 2012. This involved contacting Gypsies and Travellers living in the District, Gypsy and Traveller organisations and all those who registered an interest in the issue through consultations as part of the LDF. Parish and Town Councils were also contacted for their views on any potential sites within their areas.

5.9. Discussions have also been held in-house with Housing, Property, Development management and Enforcement Teams to suggest potential sites in SDC ownership or others than may come forward through the planning system. Discussions have also taken place in a similar manner with KCC regarding the potential for any sites, or extension to existing sites that could be put forward to assist with meeting the identified need for Sevenoaks District.

Duty to Co-operate

5.10. Section 110 of the Localism Act 2011 places a 'Duty to Cooperate' (hereafter 'The Duty') on Local Planning Authorities when preparing development plan documents. The Duty requires constructive, active engagement on an on-going basis to support all activities relating to a strategic matter.

5.11. The Council have participated in discussions with neighbouring authorities since early 2012 with regard to setting a common approach to the methodology for identifying and delivering need. The Council jointly commissioned Salford Housing and Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) at the University of Salford to produce a GTTAA in 2012 with Maidstone Borough Council. Since this time, a number of local authorities across Kent have since commissioned Salford University to undertake their needs assessments so as to provide a common evidence base across the county.

5.12. In May 2013, the Council conducted a meeting with neighbouring authorities to understand what their individual provision requirements are, where they are in the plan preparation process, and how they intend or anticipate meeting these requirements. These discussions did not result in any expressions of interest or willingness from neighbouring authorities to support SDC in the provision of our identified need.

Consultation Question - Duty to Co-operate

Q5 Is your Local Authority willing and able to assist Sevenoaks DC in meeting the identified need in Sevenoaks District?