Latest update on The Stables and Greenacre Gypsy and Traveller sites
The collaborative approach to working with the residents to improve the issues is proving effective. The site residents are cooperating with the council and the other authorities and are receptive to our visits, advice and interventions.
We have reduced the number of caravans from 150 to 100 on the sites and we hope to reduce this further in the coming months.
Previously there was a lot of subletting of caravans to non-travellers, but this has reduced, and we’ve helped 21 households find alternative accommodation.
Progress been made to improve the infrastructure with the utility issues now being resolved.
We have purchased a 12-metre strip of land around the north of The Stables and east of the Greenacres site. This will help us manage and respond to any attempted expansion and fly-tipping.
Last Spring, we served Planning Enforcement Notices on a number of the owners, landlords and occupiers at the sites. These were appealed and a date in October has been set by the Planning Inspectorate to hear the appeals.
Next steps – planning application
Whilst good progress has been made, we have been considering our next steps to formally regularise the site so that in future we can move to a more effective and efficient standard enforcement approach. We’ve been looking at the current planning permission and the conditions associated with this. The planning permission for 46 caravans was granted on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate 17 years ago in 2003 so it is old, doesn’t reflect the current need and the occupants and ownership have changed.
We have been carefully considering the best approach to a new planning application.
Clearly, over 17 years there will have been some natural family expansion and therefore a legitimate requirement for more caravans than agreed in 2003. As a Council we have a duty to provide services to all parts of our community and that includes Gypsies and Travellers. If we were to ignore the family expansion element of provision, it’s very likely the planning application wouldn’t be granted.
Therefore, we have developed a planning application for 77 caravans and two dwellings. This is around half the number of caravans that were on the sites two years ago.
We want to include robust conditions in the new planning application which may be less favourable to the residents. It is important that the planning application is attractive to the residents so that they support it and do not appeal it.
We believe the planning application for 77 caravans and two dwellings gives us the best chance at a successful application and therefore puts us in a good position to continue to improve the sites and the quality of life for the site residents and the local community.
The planning application is available on our website.