Gypsies, travellers and travelling showmen

We are required to assess the accommodation needs of our travelling community. This is to comply with the Government's 'Planning policy for traveller sites' (DCLG, March 2012) and Section 225 of the 2004 Housing Act.

Current research

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and subsequent legislation requires councils to identify sites to meet the accommodation needs of all communities within their area. This includes the needs of the Gypsy and Traveller community and also Travelling Showpeople.

In November 2017 we commissioned Opinion Research Services (ORS), who are an independent research company, to look at the accommodation needs of the Gypsy and Traveller community in Spelthorne. This will be part of the research and evidence which supports the new Local Plan. Their experienced staff will be conducting interviews with households during November, December and January.

ORS have already completed or are currently working on similar studies for many other local authorities in Surrey including Elmbridge, Mole Valley, Reigate & Banstead, Runnymede, Surrey Heath, Tandridge and Waverley and a number of London Boroughs including Hillingdon and Hounslow.   

How you can get involved

ORS have been visiting families on Gypsy and Traveller Sites across the area. They would also like to speak to members of the community who live in in bricks and mortar accommodation in Spelthorne, to make sure all members of the travelling community are included in this research. We would like you to be involved in this study, what you say is important.

If you, or someone from your family, could spare the time to answer some questions please let us know. Questions will be about where you live now and where you and your children need to live in the future. Anything you tell us will be kept confidential.

ORS would particularly like to speak to Gypsies and Travellers who live in a house in Spelthorne and would prefer to live on a site/yard.

If you would like to take part in the study please contact Claire Thomas on 01792 535315, email claire.thomas@ors.org.uk or text 07730 565962.

Travellers' Accommodation Assessment

We hope to publish the new Travellers' Accommodation Assessment in February 2018 which will identify the number of pitches for Gypsies and Travellers and plots for Travelling Showpeople that are needed within our borough. For planning purposes Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople, are collectively referred to as travellers. Gypsies and Travellers tend to call the land they live on a 'pitch' and Travelling Showpeople call it a 'plot or yard'.

The findings of the new TAA will be part of the research and evidence which supports the new Local Plan.

North Surrey Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment 2006-2016

In the past, the number of pitches for the travelling community that each local authority needed to provide was to be determined at the regional level by Regional Planning Bodies (RPBs) and through the preparation of Regional Spatial Strategies (RSSs). In the south east, this was to be determined by a single issue review of the South East Plan on the provision for Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Show people sites which was being led by the South East England Partnership Board (SEEPB). It was based on the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments (GTAAs) that had been undertaken by each local authority or group of local authorities. In Surrey, there were three GTAAs produced: West, East and North. Runnymede fell within the area covered by the  North Surrey Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment 2006-2016 (April 2007) .

However, prior to the recommendations of an Independent Panel of Government Inspectors being published, which would have set out how many pitches each local Planning Authority in the south east would need to provide, the Coalition Government came to power and sought to revoke RSSs (ie the South East Plan) including the Partial Review of Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation.

As set out in the Planning Policy for traveller sites, it is now our responsibility to identify the number of travellers' pitches/plots that will be required based on local needs assessments.