Gypsy and Traveller sites
According to the Housing and Planning Act (2016), we have a legal duty to consider the needs of ‘people residing in or resorting to their district with respect to the provision of sites on which caravans can be stationed’.
The London Plan, policy 3.8 (housing choice), calls on councils to work with the Mayor of London and local communities to identify the range of needs likely to arise in their areas.
In our core strategy, policy 2, we envisage that Gypsy and Traveller sites will be identified through the sites allocation local plan (SALP). However, it was not possible to include a site within the SALP, so we decided to identify a site through the Gypsy and Traveller site local plan (GTSLP).
We began preparing a GTSLP in March 2013. However, other priorities meant that things did not progress as planned, and we stopped preparing the local plan. We commissioned a Gypsy and Traveller accommodation assessment (GTAA), which was published in June 2015. This established the need for six pitches in the borough up to 2031.
In August 2015, the Government published revised national guidance in the form of a new planning policy for Traveller sites (PPTS). To make sure we have a robust assessment of current and future need that takes account of the new definition, we commissioned an update to the GTAA. The update (August 2016) identifies the continuing need for six pitches in the borough up to 2031. It also identifies additional need for ‘non-Lewisham’ households who meet the Government’s definition, and who we should provide housing solutions for by working with neighbouring boroughs.
Site selection process: regulation 18 stage 1 consultation – March/April 2016
In January 2016, the Mayor and Cabinet approved selection parameters and site selection criteria for finding a site(s) to meet the identified need. In March and April 2016, we consulted on draft parameters and criteria, and on a scoping report for integrated impact assessment. In July 2016, the Mayor and Cabinet approved the final parameters and criteria (taking account of the comments received).
Site selection process: regulation 18 stage 2 consultation – September/October 2016
Before identifying the sites we:
searched our assets (land and buildings) which were at least 0.24ha in size (based on six pitches with an average of 400sqm)
applied the approved criteria and commissioning studies on vehicular access and flooding on a long list of possible sites.
Through this process, we identified two potential sites:
New Cross Social Club and adjoining land, Hornshay Street, SE15
Land at Pool Court, SE6.
In September 2016, the Mayor and Cabinet approved a potential sites report and integrated impact assessment for consultation. We consulted with stakeholders and the public on the two potential sites for six weeks in October and November 2016
Regulation 18 stage 3 consultation: September–October 2018
In March 2018, the Mayor and Cabinet approved Pool Court as our preferred residential traveller site, following further investigations into the two potential sites and consideration by the scrutiny business panel. We consulted on a Gypsy and Traveller site(s) local plan preferred site consultation report and integrated impact assessment in 2018.
You can access the relevant consultation documents linked below.