Warrington South MP David Mowat this week welcomed the publication, by the Department for Communities & Local Government, of new guidance for Councils when deciding Planning applications for Traveller and Travelling Showperson's sites. Whilst Local Authorities will still be required to provide enough suitable sites to meet the needs of Travellers and Travelling Showpeople, there will be tougher restrictions on the use of Green Belt land to meet targets.
The guidance makes clear that Traveller or Travelling Showperson's sites (whether permanent or temporary) constitute inappropriate development unless there are "very special circumstances." Local authorities will have a duty to ensure that Local Development plans include proper provision for Traveller sites.
Mr Mowat and Cllr Paul Kennedy (Con – Hatton, Stretton & Walton) recently helped local residents fight a planning battle against a proposed Travelling Showperson's site in Stretton. Planning Officers recommended that "very special circumstances" existed which meant that the application should be approved, but this was thrown out by Councillors.
David Mowat said:
"Travellers and Travelling Showpeople have a right to expect that Councils should make reasonable provision to allow them to live their chosen lifestyle, but the same rules should apply to them as apply to everyone else and I'm pleased that the Government have recognised that."
Cllr Paul Kennedy added:
"Planning Officers recently rejected an application for a small bungalow on a farm, even though it was to house a woman with brain disease needing specialist accommodation for herself and her carer. That shows how high the "very special circumstances" bar has been set and local people just want to know that the rules apply equally to everyone."