If you face any form of planning enforcement then it is important to act quickly, either contact your planner, Planning Aid (http://www.rtpi.org.uk/planningaid); the Travellers Advice Team 0121 685 8677;
or ring FFT 01273 234777.
The advent of a new Government has brought in its train proposed changes to the planning system. The abolition of Regional Planning Structures was a backwards step for the delivery of more Gypsy and Traveller sites as it removed the push mechanism to ensure that local authorities identified land for sites in their development plans. The loss of the regional tier of planning means that in future the levels of provision to be planned for will have to be argued out at local level (there are in excess of 300 local planning authorities in England). Attending local examinations in public in any number would seem to be beyond the resources available to organisations such as FFT. The changes seem set therefore to make it even more difficult for the Travelling community to engage in any meaningful and effective way with the planning system.
Now it is just down to local authorities to allocate land for pitches, with no regional direction, we have, as predicted, seen no progress in site delivery in the last year. We are very concerned that these changes to planning will have a disproportionately negative impact on Gypsies and Travellers.
The Government is also repealing Circular 1/06 “Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites” and brought out a consultation document “Planning for Traveller Sites”. Unfortunately the new planning document represents a huge backwards step which will result in making it harder for Gypsies and Travellers to obtain planning permission for sites. This is particularly galling given that the system set up by the previous Government was beginning to bear fruit.