Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Local Plan

Chapter 6 - Monitoring and Review

6.1 The Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) requires the council to carry out a twice-yearly count of the number of caravans sited within the borough on a defined date which is set by the Ministry. Whilst this data is useful in providing a snapshot of the number of caravans at national level, it does not function as an appropriate policy monitoring tool, as the council are required to plan for 'pitches' as opposed to individual caravans. This monitoring method fails to take into account if and how the caravans are occupied or unoccupied; how the caravans relate to pitches (and permissions); whether they are currently travelling and; whether caravans are stationed temporarily where families may be visiting each other or whether they are a permanent addition to the site.

6.2 The council is currently reliant upon the caravan count for all Gypsy and Traveller site monitoring but this has proved unsatisfactory for the reasons outlined above. We are also conscious that residents are often concerned about site management, and we appreciate that in order to reassure residents there is a need to improve site monitoring and management across those in private ownership.

6.3 To address the shortcomings of our current monitoring system, and to improve our understanding of supply provision and demand in the borough, it is proposed that a new pitch count based monitoring system be implemented as part of this Plan. The process would respond to the mobile nature of the community and would run separately from any caravan count. It could involve annual visits to sites, separate to the caravan counts to establish the number of caravans ordinarily residing on the property and the number of 'households' living within them and whether they are travelling or visiting. This will produce a more accurate picture of the total number of pitches, both authorised and unauthorised, that exist within the borough and identify specific household needs. This was highlighted as a particular issue at Issues and Options consultation stage.