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Gypsy Site Provision

Volume 589: debated on Thursday 30 April 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, in the light of the findings of the Advisory Committee on the Education of Romanies and Other Travellers in their report

A Directory of Planning for Gypsy Site Provisions in England, they believe that the policies set out in Circular 1/94 have been successful in promoting uniformity of criteria for gypsy site provision. [HL1600]

The research reveals a disappointing response to Circular 1/94 by local planning authorities. Whilst many have adopted sensible policies for gypsy sites in their Development Plans, a number either have no policies or contain policies which fail to guide applicants towards those locations where planning permission is more likely to be granted. My honourable friend the Minister for London and Construction has discussed the issue with gypsy representatives and my department will be writing to all local planning authorities about the matter.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, in the light of the findings of the Advisory Committee on the Education of Romany and other Travellers in their report

A Directory of Planning Policies for Gypsy Site Provision in England, they believe that Circular 1/94 and the repeal of the Caravan Sites Act 1968 in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 have stimulated the granting of additional planning permission; and, if not, whether they have made any estimates of the probable increase in the number of caravans on unauthorised sites over the next five years arising from the loss of further contributions to the provision of accommodation by local authorities. [HL1601]

My department welcomes the research already done by the Advisory Council for the Education of Romany and other Travellers (ACERT) on Circular 1/94, to which I refer in my reply to the noble Lord's separate question on this issue, and their current project to assess the success rate of gypsy planning applications and appeals. Their work, which is being part-funded by my department, is making an important contribution to our thinking on policy affecting gypsies and other travellers.The biannual count of gypsy caravans provides my department, and local authorities, with valuable information about the levels of unauthorised camping. The figures show a steady rise in the numbers of caravans on authorised, privately owned sites, but there is no room for complacency and a number of local planning authorities still have work to do to bring their policies in line with Circular 1/94.