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Travelling People

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities have produced Gypsy and Traveller accommodation assessments deemed inadequate by her Department on grounds of (a) unreliable figures and (b) inadequate research; and if she will make a statement. (145019)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps are being taken to ensure that the Travellers’ site at Ecton Lane is provided with the floodlighting and perimeter fencing as specified in the bid for funding approved by her Department. (146002)

The completion of fencing as required by the contract specification is currently being undertaken by a fencing contractor, and is programmed to be completed by 20 July 2007.

The floodlighting is now being undertaken by electrical contractors. These works have a target completion date of 27 July 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the quality of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation assessments which she has received to date; and if she will make a statement. (142434)

The Secretary of State does not have a formal role in assessing the quality of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs assessments. Communities and Local Government will offer advice and support to local authorities on undertaking these assessments as necessary. Draft guidance was published in February 2006, and a final version has now been laid before Parliament, as required by the Housing Act 2004.

Regional assemblies will need to consider the quality of these assessments as they revise regional spatial strategies to identify pitch requirements at a regional level and allocate these between local authorities. Research undertaken for Communities and Local Government, “Preparing Regional Spatial Strategy reviews on Gypsies and Travellers by regional planning bodies”, provides regional assemblies with a methodology for this. This is available on the Communities and Local Government website at http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=l508208