Moves to tighten up on policy for local gypsy sites in the Chichester district

Subject of a court case - site between South Harting and Nyewood at Three Cornered Piece.
Subject of a court case - site between South Harting and Nyewood at Three Cornered Piece.

CHICHESTER District Council looks set to back government moves to tighten up planning policy governing applications for gypsy and traveller sites.

Members of the planning and development plan panel have endorsed their officers’ response to the consultation.

Officers reported the government remained committed to increasing the level of authorised gypsy and traveller site provision. But it believed revisions were necessary to ensure the system applied fairly to both the settled community and travellers. It wants ‘to strengthen protection of our sensitive areas and the green belt and deal with the negative effects of unauthorised occupation of land’.

It is proposed to reduce the weight now given by the planning policy for traveller sites (PPTS) to a lack of an up-to-date five year supply of deliverable sites.

Currently a failure to show this is a ‘significant material consideration’.

It is proposed to change this to ‘material consideration’ and leave its weight a matter for the decision taker on plans in protected land including national parks.

The government also proposes to amend the definition of ‘gypsy’ and ‘traveller’ to exclude those who no longer travel.

“In such circumstances an application for a permanent site would then be treated no differently from an application from the settled population.”

In addition the plan is to increase protection for national parks and strengthen the onus on authorities to ‘strictly’ limit new traveller site development to ‘very strictly limit’ it.

It is proposed to make the ‘intentional unauthorised occupation’ of land a material consideration weighing against permission.