The “Planning for traveller sites” consultation document has been published by CLG promoting a reform of planning policy affecting traveller sites. The new PPS which forms part of this consultation will eventually replace the planning policy contained in Circular 01/2006 “Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites” and Circular 04/2007 “Planning for Travelling Showpeople”.

This policy reform is closely connected with the government’s decentralisation ideals and supports the government’s intention of treating everyone equally by aligning the policies for traveller sites more closely with the policies for other forms of housing.

In particular, the government will hand control over the planning for traveller sites back into the hands of the local authorities who will be able to set their own targets for the provision of traveller sites depending on the circumstances of that particular area. The government also intends to include traveller sites in the New Homes Bonus scheme providing incentives to local authorities to provide appropriate traveller sites. This is combined with the resumption of the traveller site grant funding and the government have allocated £60m to local authorities between 2011 – 2015 to fund the provision of traveller sites.

Whilst offering more security to traveller communities (for example, by improving their security from eviction on authorised sites), the government will also impose stronger enforcement powers to tackle breaches (including a strengthening of the powers under a temporary stop notice) and will limit the availability of retrospective planning applications.