Local Authorities Join Forces to Assess Need for Traveller Sites

Press Release: 28/05/2012

Eleven authorities in Hampshire have jointly commissioned an assessment of the need for traveller sites in their areas. The Government recently published new planning guidelines for travellers’ sites, emphasising the need for local authorities to work together to undertake such assessments and maintain an adequate supply of sites.

The authorities include 8 District Councils, 2 National Park Authorities (South Downs and New Forest) and Hampshire County Council. The study will be based on a series of interviews aimed at establishing the accommodation needs of different traveller groups in the area, which include Romany gypsies and travelling showpeople. The work is due to be completed by the end of August, when each of the authorities will receive recommendations on the need for traveller sites in their areas. The results will provide useful evidence for future planning and, by providing an adequate number of sites based on a comprehensive assessment of needs, the authorities will be better placed to avoid some of the conflicts that have arisen between travellers and the ‘settled’ community.

To maintain trust and credibility with the travelling community and to undertake the work cost effectively, the Councils have appointed local charity ‘The Forest Bus’ to undertake the study. The organisation has strong links with, and knowledge of, the local traveller community, including those currently living - often temporarily - in houses and flats.

Winchester City Council is the lead commissioning authority and the project coordinator for the eleven authorities is Mark Herbert of East Hampshire District Council.