Detailed SPD will guide East Devon when deciding Gypsy and Traveller site planning applications

New detailed planning guidance designed to help the East Devon planning authority determine applications for Gypsy and Traveller sites is currently undergoing consultation.

The public has until 15 November 2016 to send in any comments on the East Devon Gypsy and Traveller Site Design and Layout Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and the information that is legally required to support it - Equalities Impact Assessment, Strategic Environmental Assessment/Habitat Regulations Screening and Consultation Statement.

All feedback received on this draft document will be used to help inform any further revisions.

Studies show that nationally Gypsies and Travellers continue to face a 10% lower life expectancy than the general population. The factors contributing to this declining health problem are sub-standard accommodation (including a lack of authorised, well laid out sites), as well as poor health, low educational attainment and community isolation in society.

The Gypsy and Traveller SPD will help ensure that these pressing needs are met by setting out a list of clear criteria against which all planning applications for proposed sites and extensions to existing sites will be measured. All new schemes will have to comply with high standards in terms of privacy, landscaping, density of pitches, size of pitches, residents’ safety and what should be provided on a pitch.

East Devon is keen to receive feedback on these draft  guiding principles, which are based on Government guidance and good practice from neighbouring authorities.

Comments on the SPD can be made in writing to “Gypsy and Traveller DPD” Planning Policy, East Devon District Council, The Knowle, Station Road, EX10 8HL or by email to . Respondents’ names and addresses are not confidential.

The consultation can be found on the planning policy pages of the East Devon website.

Councillor Andrew Moulding, who is East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for strategic development and partnerships, said:

It is vital that East Devon supports ethnic minority communities such as the Gypsies and Travellers. We must continue to drive change and offer them improved opportunities within the district. We would like to help create lasting and measurable changes that will benefit and enhance their way of life, enabling them to live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives.

Once the SPD has been adopted it will be used as a clear reference guide to make certain that the sites being put forward provide high quality environments that meet the basic living requirements of residents. The document will not determine where the sites will be permitted but it will be aimed at achieving a high quality appearance, as well as safe, healthy living conditions for the residents.

We must take responsibility for these people who are an integral part of East Devon’s cultural mix and help them by ensuring that traveller sites are well thought out and able to support healthy, productive, happy lifestyles.