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Government policy for gypsies and travellers

The government is committed to ensuring fair and equal treatment for travellers, in a way that facilitates their traditional and nomadic way of life while respecting the interests of the settled community.

In 2012, the government produced new guidance -  Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (opens in a new window), which replaced earlier circulars. The Government also abolished Regional Spatial Strategies and their pitch targets for local authorities. Councils can now decide for themselves how many Traveller pitches are necessary according to local need and historic demand.

Why was new planning policy needed?

Previous guidance failed to provide enough sites for gypsies and travellers in many parts of the country. Gypsies and travellers are believed to experience the worst health and education of any disadvantaged group in England. The government now expects local authorities to take the lead in assessing the needs of gypsies and travellers alongside the needs of the settled population and to ensure that those needs are reflected in statutory planning documents.

What is happening in Dorset?

Dorset councils, including Bournemouth and Poole, are now working together to prepare a Dorset-wide Gypsy and Traveller (including Travelling Showpeople) Joint Development Plan Document. This will allocate permanent and transit sites for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople to meet identified needs for the next 15 years.

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