Agenda item

Pre-decision scrutiny of the Gypsy, Traveller and Showperson's Accommodation Assessment 2021 - 2033.


Stephen Griffiths presented the report, with additional comments from Mark Hand. It was noted that the report omitted the mention the involvement of Opinion Research Services Ltd., a social research organisation that assisted with the preparation of the report.


In 3.1.2, where it mentions the current need for 8 pitches – are they included in the 13?

Yes, the 13 pitches includes those 8. In 3.1.1 there is a summary of what the 13 pitches comprise.

One of the sites is described as ‘overcrowded’?

There is confusion about what ‘overcrowded’ means. It’s talking about adults on a pitch who should have their own caravan, rather than being in a wider family caravan. It doesn’t mean that there are literally too many people in the caravan.

Can the definitions of static caravans and pitches be clarified?

Welsh Government guidance defines a pitch. The easiest way to think of a pitch is as a house plot, with garden space, parking space, etc. There tends to be a static home that provides living room-style accommodation. Normally there is a separate block for utility and for toilets. The younger children tend to be in the main static caravan with the parents, and older children in another. So it is like a house with different bedrooms. The guidance suggests that as a minimum one static caravan, perhaps two touring caravans, space to park two vehicles, and a garden area. But they do vary, as houses do. We have to look at the family’s needs and the site.

It would be helpful for a multidisciplinary team that worked on the private site policy because there could then be a plan that ticks the boxes for both Planning and Licensing. Assistance through Planning Aid would also be very helpful. Would it not be better to work this way?

Joint working is a really good idea and we will pick that up. We can work with the applicants jointly with Environmental Health but they are separate regulatory systems – so we can’t refuse planning applications because they don’t comply with Environmental Licenses, and vice versa. So in that sense, we could never have a planning policy that requires it to comply with other legislation – that wouldn’t be legally permissible. But in terms of working practices – getting everything aligned before that stage – that is something we will look to do.

How likely is it that the demand will change, especially for those who travel from site to site? How often do they usually stay long term?

The draft GTAA is valid until 2026, so it will be revisited then and if anyone has moved out of the county that will be reflected. We won’t know until then.

Is legislation the same as in England? It is changing in England – will that affect Wales?

Yes, it has now changed in England to say that anyone who has stopped travelling is no longer a traveller. It is going through the Court of Appeals process. There is no indication that the legislation will change in Wales in that direction. The only thing that might happen is whether as a border county, people will move across from England – we would need to see if we have a duty to accommodate them, and go through that process then.

Chair’s Summary:

Members supported the Recommendations. A multi-disciplinary approach was added as a Recommendation. Mark Hand reiterated that Planning can look at that but it would be guidance rather than policy. Councillor Brown added that it would be helpful if there were easy to read private site and policy guidance for the applicants.


Supporting documents: