FFT Steve Staines by panniuniu


									Friends, Families and Travellers and Traveller Law reform Project response to
West Oxfordshire Council Core Strategy Preferred Approach Consultation

Accommodation for Travelling Communities (para 4.38 and 4.39)

FFT and TLRP welcome the fact that attention is being given to this small but
important issue.

The EiP has been held and the results will soon be available and so there is no reason
to delay in making site allocations.

The requirement must be delivered through site allocations in a relevant DPD (see
para 33) and not rely on a criteria based policy to deliver sites. However the criteria
based policy should be used to guide allocations and meet unexpected demand (para
31 1/2006).

We are pleased that a criteria based policy is being developed but have some concerns
about it which in our view must be addressed so that it can be conformable with
national policy.

We agree with the approach outlined of safeguarding existing sites, extending existing
sites where appropriate and also allocating new sites.

The criteria listed for new sites have some problems:

   1. The requirement (i) for sites to be in or near existing settlements does not
      take into account affordability and availability issues for land for sites.
      Circular 1/2006is clear that rural and semi-rural locations are acceptable in
      principle and that local authorities should be realistic about alternatives to the
      car in accessing services ( para 54 1/2006). As such the wording of this
      criterion as it stands may be unduly restrictive in locating suitable sites. A
      more suitable alternative wording would be ‘ be a reasonable distance from
      local services’.

   2. The requirement (iii) not to have adverse impact is overly onerous. Any
      development by its very nature can be held to have impact on environmental
      assets and the use of this wording does open the door to NIMBY objections. If
      there is a concern about impact on character and appearance of the
      surrounding area an alternative more suitable form of wording may be ‘not
      have an unacceptable impact…’

The core strategy as it stands gives no indication of the timing of delivery of
much needed sites. The needs have already been outlined, the EiP held and the
results for that will be available soon.

As such in view of the significant and pressing need in our view West Oxfordshire
Council should consider developing the dedicated DPD in parallel with or in advance
of the core strategy as recommended by Circular 1/2006 para 43
The Government is clear that ‘ The current position on site delivery remains
unsatisfactory. It is also clear that local authorities need to increase the pace at which
sustainable locations are identified that can be used as Gypsy and Travellers sites.’
(Progress report on Gypsy and Traveller Policy, CLG July 2009).

Hence the Council should make a start now on identifying sites.

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