What the Localism Act 2011 Means for Gypsies and Travellers

dicegeorge at hotmail dot com dicegeorge at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 30 17:32:57 GMT 2011

Anyone with land who hasn't applied for planning should consider putting
in an application NOW before the changes to retrospective planning
become law.


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Friday, 30 December 2011
What the Localism Act 2011 Means for Gypsies and Travellers
The Localism Act received Royal Assent on the 15th November, 2011.
Different parts of the Act will come into force at different times, with
some being bought into force immediately.

The Act is wide ranging, but brings into force two key provisions which
will have an immediate effect for Gypsies and Travellers: the abolition
of the Regional Strategies and the changes to the law regarding
retrospective planning permission.

Abolition of Regional Strategies

Regional Strategies provided planning frameworks in England, including
targets for the provision of Gypsy and Traveller pitches within each
local authority area. The abolition of the Regional Strategies will mean
that Local Authorities will no longer be set targets on how many new
Gypsy and Traveller pitches are needed in their area. Instead they will
be left to make their own assessment of need. There are real concerns
that, left to their own devices, Local Authorities will fail to make
sufficient provision or grant planning permission for privately provided

Local Authorities will still have a duty under the 2004 Housing Act
requiring them to assess the accommodation needs of Gypsies, Travellers,
and Showpeople, and to make adequate provision for them through the
planning process. However, the guidance on how they should make these
assessments and deliver the pitches needed (Circular 1/2006 Planning for
Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites) are to be replaced by the weaker,
soon to published "Planning for traveller sites", described by the
Government as 'light-touch guidance',

Retrospective planning applications

Section 123 of the Localism Act inserts new sections into the Town and
Country Planning Act 1990 preventing retrospective planning applications
where there is already an enforcement notice on the land which covers
the subject matter of their proposed application. If there is not such a
notice, then a retrospective planning application can still be made.

However, if such an application is made and the local planning authority
serves an enforcement notice relating to the application, within the
relevant period for determination of the application (normally 8 weeks)
then the applicant will not be permitted to appeal that notice. Instead,
the applicant should proceed with his or her retrospective application
and if necessary, any appeal against the refusal of planning permission.

This part of the Act has not yet come into force and Gypsies or
Travellers who own their own land but who don't have planning
permission,should make an application as soon as possible. Those who
have temporary permissions should make sure they make a fresh
application before the temporary permission comes to an end.

In addition to the abolition of the Regional strategies and the changes
to retrospective planning, the Act contains other provisions that may
have implications for Gypsies and Travellers. For a fuller explanation
of the importance of the Localism Act for Gypsies and Travellers see
Chris Johnson's Travellers' Times blog.


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