Reference from the Planning Committee
Meeting: 18/06/2013 - Cabinet (Item 50)
To consider the attached recommendation from the Planning Committee meeting held on 8 May 2013 (minute reference and report attached).
The Planning Committee at its meeting on 8 May 2013 had recommended to Cabinet that the Council’s Policies on Gypsy and Travellers sites and facilitation of provision of suitable site(s) be brought forward for urgent resolution.
The Executive Member for Planning & Environmental Services stated that the Gypsy and Traveller Assessment had been on-going and would be discussed at the Local Plan Working Group in September 2013. She advised that Local Authorities no longer had to accept the pitch figures from Government and the Policies for the Travelling Community were currently being updated.
The Chairman asked by doing this piece of work would it help to address the issue in this particular application. Members were informed that it would.
The Joint Deputy Planning Manager advised that there was already a Policy within the Core Strategy that dealt with Gypsies and Travellers and general criteria within the Local Development Framework (LDF).
In response to a question about the type of work that was currently being undertaken, Members were informed that surveys were being carried out with the gypsy and traveller communities and discussions were on-going with Norfolk County Council, in relation to education to support such families, charities and liaison with neighbouring authorities. Councillor Sharpe asked if local and towns and parishes would be involved. In response, the Joint Deputy Planning Manager explained that all Members would be involved as part of this process.
Councillor Claussen said that he had never known a barrister to be involved in a planning application. He explained that locals required some kind of certainty of what they would end up with. He thought that community engagement was key but the residents of Mattishall had been ignored and were fearful of the end result which, in his opinion, was unacceptable.
The Chairman of the Planning Committee stated that he envisaged an escalation of gypsies and travellers on this particular site and as a planning committee, sites such as these were gradually popping up all over the place. A suitable solid policy was urgently required.
The Executive Member for Internal Services said that Breckland Council had to make sure that it had enough of these sites but not near to settled communities. He felt that Planning needed to establish exactly what the requirements were as there was not sufficient capacity through national routes.
The Chairman once again asked if this document would help prevent adhoc opportunistic developments, if not the Council’s policies needed to be strengthened as there seemed to be some strange discrepancies between travellers and the settled communities.
RESOLVED that the Council’s policies on Gypsy and Traveller Sites and facilitation of provision of suitable site(s) be brought forward for urgent resolution.