1. Planning for Gypsies and Travellers
Our aim is to ensure fair and equal treatment for Gypsies and Travellers in East Devon, providing homes in a way that facilitates their traditional and nomadic way of life while respecting the interests of the settled community. We are aware that there are currently too few pitches to meet the demand from Gypsies and Travellers in the District and that this may lead to unauthorised stopping, overcrowding of existing pitches or otherwise impact on quality of life.
To address the problem, the District Council is producing a Development Plan Document which will decide where new sites will be permitted, and has adopted a Supplementary Planning Document to provide guidance on the size, layout and design of new/additional pitches to ensure that they provide a safe, high quality environment that meets residents basic needs.
The key evidence of need in the District is a needs assessment undertaken by RRR Consultants on behalf of East Devon and other Devon authorities. This considered how many Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople pitches are required in East Devon and the wider study area. The Devon Partnership Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment 2015 was completed at the beginning of 2015 and forms the basis for the figures in our Local Plan. The study concluded that, between 2014 and 2034 there is a need for:
- 37 additional permanent Gypsy and Traveller pitches with 22 of these needed in the first 5 years (Note- Since the study was undertaken, six permanent pitches, and one temporary pitch, have been granted planning permission so there is now a need for 31 permanent pitches and 16 of these are required by 2019) ;
- 3 new permanent travelling showpeople pitches, with 1 of these needed in the first 5 years (Note- the existing site at Clyst St Mary is only partially developed and there is capacity to accommodate all of the projected need);
- 4-5 temporary/emergency stopping places, each 4-5 pitches in the first 5 years (this applies across the study area as a whole. East Devon is not specifically mentioned, although Devon County Council state that East Devon has the highest level of unauthorised stops in the County, so it could be concluded that at least one of these temporary/emergency sites should be in East Devon); and
- 23 houses for Gypsies and Travellers (this would be met through the general housing stock).
Most of the immediate need arises from overcrowding of existing sites and from newly formed families on existing sites (usually children reaching maturity and having their own children) who wish to stay close to extended family. Most of the need is on the western side of the District, around the M5/A30. The Local Plan makes provision for up to 30 pitches on a site or sites at Cranbrook.
Please note that the Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to treat someone less favourably because of a range of protected characteristics, including race, nationality or ethnic or national origins. Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are defined as a racial group in law. A Public Sector Equality Duty places a duty on the Council to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between persons of different groups. Further information is available.