Campaigning for sites
Gypsies and Travellers have been living in London for centuries stopping on waste ground or owning land on the margins. Between 1968 and 1994 there was a statutory duty for each Borough to provide 15 pitches which the majority of boroughs complied with.
Gypsy family on site in Enfield
one of the first sites to be built after the 1968 caravan sites act
Since the repeal of this statutory duty by the conservative government in 1994, no new sites have been built and many have been closed resulting in a 12% reduction of pitches in London.
There is a well identified need for new sites in London and under the 2004 housing act, a statutory responsibility on the London Mayor to set pitch targets through the regional plan, and for each borough to provide them. The new government policies have removed regional planning structures and therefore pitch targets. However because the London plan is enshrined in legislation it remains in place.
Mayors' London Plan
We have been responding to the various consultations leading up to the Mayor's Replacement London plan which was finally published in July 2011. In the development of this plan there were three alterations to the draft: two of these related to Gypsy and Traveller pitches making the plan worse until it did little more than hope that the Boroughs would act responsibly.
For a summary in pictures and text of our campaign on the London plan click here
For LGTU submissions click here
For London Gypsy Traveller Forum responses click here
New government policy for Planning for Traveller sites
The government has introduced a new planning policy 'planning for traveller sites' to replace the existing guidance (circulars 1/2006 and 04/2007).
- There will be no regionally set targets - it will be left to the councils to decide on how many new pitches (if any) they will deliver.
- Local authorities will not have to recognise or use the existing needs assessments (the GTAA's) but can repeat the process by assessing the need for new pitches again – this will cause yet more delay.
- The needs of housed Travellers are not recognised because they no longer live on sites.
If you want to know more read LGTU's submission to the government to see what the issues are.