In this issue
Homes for all of our communities
 

Spelthorne Council is seeking to find sites for Gypsies and Travellers and Travelling Showpeople to live on.  This is part of the current consultation on a new Local Plan for the borough. 

The pitches and plots allocated by the draft Local Plan would provide permanent sites for the caravans and trailers of our travelling community when they are not touring.  The majority of travelling is undertaken during the summer months and permanent homes are needed over the winter.  In addition some members of the community have ceased to travel temporarily for health or education needs or because of old age.  The benefit of providing permanent sites is that this should significantly reduce the number of illegal incursions that take place in the borough.  The new sites would have weekly waste or recycling collections like any other home in the borough and essential infrastructure such as water and sewerage connections.  Following government design guidance, none of the sites would have more than 15 plots or pitches on them. 

A Council spokesperson said: "Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople are part of our local community and we will seek to meet their needs through the Local Plan just as we are doing for the 'settled' community.   However it is important to differentiate between people who live permanently in our borough and those who are in transit.  We know there are concerns from residents about the unauthorised incursions that take place, particularly those on open space and recreation grounds.  The sites proposed by the Local Plan won't solve this problem.  The Council recognise the need for a transit site in Surrey for travellers who are passing through the county and feel that this should be located in the centre or south of the county".  Surrey Leaders and Chief Execs are working together with Surrey Police to find a solution. 

The future needs of Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople are calculated by assessing how families already living in Spelthorne are likely to grow during the 15-year plan period. 

No sites will be allocated until the Local Plan is adopted at the end of the process.  Engagement with the local community is essential to preparing the Plan. The next round of consultation on the Local Plan will take place next year before it is submitted for examination by an independent inspector.  Once the Local Plan is adopted site owners will still have to apply for planning permission to confirm specific details such as site layout, design and landscaping. 

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