The government’s Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (March 2012) requires local authorities to work collaboratively with neighbouring local planning authorities, amongst other things, to:
- Set pitch targets for travellers and plot targets for travelling showpeople, that address the likely permanent and transit site accommodation needs of travellers in their area
- Identify sufficient deliverable sites to provide a five year supply when measured against locally set targets
Malvern Hills District Council acted as the lead authority for Bromsgrove District Council, Malvern Hills District Council, Redditch Borough Council, Worcester City Council, Wyre Forest District Council, Wychavon District Council and Worcestershire County Council.
It sought an experienced consultant to undertake a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) for Worcestershire.
The purpose of the study was to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the currently unmet and future need for permanent and transit accommodation, of all gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople across Worcestershire up until 2030.
The assessment needed to be robust and credible, represent value for money, and meet the required timescales.
What we did
This was a multi-authority study involving six councils, and has been our most involved GTAA to date. As a result we adopted an intensive approach to project management and client liaison with the designated project lead.
Our methodology included:
- A review of available literature, including legislative background and best practice information, and available secondary data relating to gypsies and travellers
- A secondary source data review and analysis covering all relevant regional, sub-regional and local information
- A telephone and online survey of key stakeholders, which greatly enhanced the GTAA; and helped to address the council’s Duty to Cooperate obligations with neighbouring local planning authorities. Discussions were held with traveller liaison and education officers, housing and planning staff, and police and community safety officers.
- A household survey of gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople across the county, organised and conducted by HSSA in partnership with Arc4.
Arc4 deems any primary data collected from fieldwork, as critical in order to ensure that assumptions play a minimal role in the identification of housing requirements.
We aimed to secure as many interviews with heads of households as possible, across all sites and in bricks and mortar accommodation.
We set a household ‘census’ survey as the minimum target for each site that we visited. All data that was captured was checked and validated checked by the Arc4 team, including our data analyst who works as an associate on all of our data analysis projects.
Gypsies and Irish travellers are distinct ethnic groups, and all the duties on public bodies under Race Relations legislation apply.
The accommodation needs of all gypsies and travellers, as well as new travellers and travelling showpeople, should be identified, understood and addressed through the planning framework and housing strategy on the same basis as other sectors of the community.
This is to ensure that the needs of each sector of the community are understood, and that resources are allocated appropriately.
This will help to ensure that future planning and investment decisions are based on well-informed, accurate data; are accepted by local communities; and are defensible if challenged.
The project delivered a robust and comprehensive GTAA that complies with national planning policy requirements (PPTS). It also provided local authorities with robust data for assessing future gypsy and traveller pitch requirements, by maximising engagement from existing gypsy and traveller residents, and for considering pitch availability.