Gypsies and Travellers have lived and travelled in this country for at least 500 years. Gypsies and Irish Travellers are recognised ethnic groups and are protected from discrimination by law. Travelling Showpeople are largely members of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain and are required to follow a strict code of practice regulating the use of their sites. Although other travelling groups are not recognised by law they may still be able to receive support from some Council services.
Nationwide, most Gypsies and Travellers now live in bricks and mortar housing and the majority of those living in caravans are on authorised public or private sites (86% at the January 2013 caravan count). Bath and North East Somerset District does not currently have any permanent authorised Gypsy, Traveller or Travelling Showpeople sites. The District does however have a number of unauthorised encampments and developments; unauthorised sites are not desirable for either the residents of these sites or the Council.
A note on the legal obligations of Bath and North East Somerset to produce the Site Allocations DPD is available here. The Council has a duty to promote racial equality but many Gypsies and Travellers still experience discrimination and prejudice. This is made worse by the national shortage of sites where these groups have a legitimate right to stay. These are known as authorised sites.
The shortage of authorised sites means that nearly one in five of Gypsy and Traveller families living in caravans have no authorised site on which to reside and resort to camping in unauthorised places. This causes difficulties for these families in terms of access to basic facilities and services. It can also inconvenience local residents and landowners, with a consequent risk of community tension..
The Council commissioned consultants to produce a new Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) to provide up-to-date evidence of local need for Bath and North East Somerset. This document was completed in 2012 and is available to view from here.
The need identified in that study is for 24 permanent pitches, 5 transit pitches and 40 Travelling Showpeople plots over the period to 2017. An additional 4 permanent pitches are identified as being required over the period to 2027 due to new household formation from households already living in the District.
The previous evidence of need for Bath and North East Somerset was set out in a joint study with the other West of England Authorities. This document was published in 2007 and is available to view from here. The Executive Summary and Appendices are also available to download.
The need identified in that study for Bath and North East Somerset District was for 19 permanent pitches, 20 transit pitches and 1 Travelling Showpeople yard over the period to 2011. An additional 3 permanent pitches were calculated as being required over the period to 2016, using a standard projection of family growth.
The main consultation documents are:
- Issues and Options Consultation consultation Document
- Preferred Options Consultation Document
- Preferred Options Detailed Site Assessment Report. Please note the error in Preferred Options Stage Detailed Site Assessment Report: Parcel 7100, Woollard Lane, Whitchurch is incorrectly identified and scored as brownfield land in the Completed Site Scoring Matrix (Appendix 2). The entire site is greenfield land.
The Council has also produced a number of documents that inform the development of the Site Allocations Plan. This includes Sustainability Appraisal, Habitat Regulations Assessment and Equalities Impact Assessment.
The stages of the Sustainability Appraisal are set out below:
- Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report (Consultation Version)
- Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report (Consultation Responses)
- Issues and Options Sustainability Appraisal Report
- Preferred Options Sustainability Appraisal Non-Technical Summary
- Preferred Options Sustainability Appraisal Report
The Council produced a Habitat Regulations Assessment of likely significant effect on a European Site for the Issues and Options document.
Site-specific work was conducted as part of further detailed site option assessment over July-August 2012. Note that the two sites listed below (at Stanton Wick and Newbridge) are no longer being considered for allocation through the Site Allocations DPD and this information is for background information only.
Old Colliery Buildings site, Stanton Wick
Further work at the Old Colliery Buildings site, Stanton Wick, includes investigation of land contamination and ecology:
- Main Report (1.1 MB)
- Appendix A GroundSure Historical Map Extracts (6.1 MB)
- Appendix B GroundSure Enviro-Insight Report (1.6 MB)
- Appendix C GroundSure GeoInsight Report (1.5 MB)
- Appendix D Site Photographs (0.4 MB)
- Appendix E Coal Authority Mining Report (0.3 MB)
- Appendix F Example Site Layout Plans (0.7 MB)
- Appendix G Extracts from Sanctus Report (1.4 MB)
- Preliminary Ecological Appraisal at the Old Colliery Buildings site, Stanton Wick
Station Road, Newbridge, Bath
A Preliminary Land Quality Risk Assessment (as assessment of land contamination) was completed in July 2012: