I have received a lot of emails and phone calls about the proposed permanent traveller sites in Sutton as part of Sutton Council’s Local Plan.
The proposals for two travellers’ sites on Kimpton Park Way and Hannibal Way in Wallington are part of Sutton Council’s draft Local Plan in which they look at the borough as a whole to decide on how it may look. This plan identifies key sites and gives potential developers a steer when seeking planning permission. Any plans for a travellers’ site would still need full planning permission.
However, as the Local Plan admits, the council is going further than is required in law. The government changed the law on defining travellers to those with a ‘nomadic habit of life’ were required access to a site, thus reducing the need for councils to find sites.
Sutton Council have gone further though saying in their draft Local Plan: “It is the council’s view that, despite the Government’s new definition, the council should continue to provide for the need identified for the borough’s permanent Gypsies and Travellers on the grounds that, the council site is so overcrowded, new site(s) are needed regardless.” (p.72, Sutton Local Plan Issues and Preferred Options document).
The council is consulting on this draft plan and has two questions relevant to this site:
- Consultation Question 12a – Do you agree with the council’s standpoint on the need for new Gypsy and Traveller sites? If not, please give details.
- Consultation Question 12b – Do you agree with the draft policy on Gypsy and Traveller sites ? If not, please give details.
You can see the standpoint and policy in the draft Local Plan here (the Sutton Local Plan Issues and Preferred Options document is a big download). The Sutton Local Plan Response Form can be found on the same page and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a time when we cannot find enough brownfield land to build a much-needed school and enough housing, I cannot see that we can justify relaxing the definition of travellers to supply extra provision for them at this time.
I have also sent a letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, to clarify the ‘legal requirement’ element of Sutton Council’s proposals.