Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Local Plan

Chapter 7 - Stages of Plan and Public Engagement

Stages of plan production

7.1 Production of a Local Plan is an evolving process, going through a number of stages, and based on factual evidence base and local consultation as set out below:

1. Formulating the Evidence base:

a. Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (2018)

b. Issues and Options report - setting out the broad issues and options and seeking views through a public consultation exercise. The Issues and Options report was published in April 2018.

2. Consult on the Regulation 18 'Options Report' document (This Stage)

3. Produce and consult on the Regulation 19 Draft Document (Also known as submission version). This will include draft policies and site allocations.

4. Examination in public - this is a hearing conducted by an independent government appointed Planning Inspector to assess the submission version of the Plan and the comments received. The Council and objectors to the plan re invited to present evidence at the hearing.

5. Adoption - If the plan is found to be legally acceptable as a result of the examination in public, it is adopted by the Council and form part of the Development Plan.

Process Diagram


Engagement on the plan

Duty to co-operate

7.2 The Localism Act of 2011 and the NPPF requires that local authorities engage constructively and actively on an ongoing basis with other Local Planning Authorities and organisations. We recognise that close working and co-operation with neighbouring boroughs is essential to meet the needs of a mobile community. Collaborative working is central to the development of this plan. We have already undertaken joint working with neighbouring authorities on the evidence base in coordination with the carrying out of GTAA's with the same consultant and we will continue to liaise with them on this plan.

Engagement with communities and key stakeholders

7.3 Engagement on this document will follow the criteria set out in the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) which ensures that all sections of the community, including local voluntary and community groups and organisations, key stakeholders, Parish Councils and Community Forums, service providers, landowners, individuals and developers, are actively involved throughout the process of preparing Local Plans.

7.4 Parish Councils, Ward members and community groups have been, and will continue to be, involved in production of this plan. At each consultation stage the Council will utilise both conventional methods and social media to publicise the plan and to encourage involvement from the public.

7.5 In the case of this Local Plan, it will be particularly important to continue involve Gypsies and Travellers themselves and those groups which represent them (such as the Gypsy Council and the Traveller Movement). The traveller community have been involved in this plan process from its inception. At the Issues and Options consultation in April 2018 each existing site in the borough was sent a copy of the consultation documents and an invitation to participate. Following this, officers visited sites to discuss their potential household needs. This consultation document will also be sent to all known Gypsy and Traveller sites.

7.6 However, there may be a specific family or group we have missed, or an organisation which you think should also be involved specifically in this document production. We welcome any thoughts or suggestions on potential consultation techniques and/or specific consultees we should contact.


How to make comments and submit a site/pitch for consideration

7.7 The public and other stakeholders are now invited to submit comments on the content of this Options Report and view the supporting documents until 5pm on 21st February 2020.

  • Site submissions can be made by using the form on the home page and uploading them as a response document here.  
  • The documents are also available to view in hard copy at the Civic Centre, Ashford and Tenterden Gateways, and Wye and Charing libraries where comment and site submission forms can also be collected.
  • Hard copy comment forms and site submission forms can be requested by calling 01233 330229 or emailing and we will post them out to you.

Hard Copy Forms can be sent back by post to: Planning Policy Team, Gypsy and Traveller 'Options Report', Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, TN23 1PL

7.8 Where possible, information can be made available in other formats, including large print and other languages. To obtain one of these alternatives, please contact us on 01233 330229.

Please make your comments by 5pm on 21st February 2020

What Happens Next?

7.8 Everyone that comments on this consultation will receive an acknowledgment.

7.9 The next stage in this document production process will be to assess the comments received and use that feedback, government guidance such as the NPPF and PPTS alongside the supporting Sustainability Appraisal work to produce topic policies which effectively deal with all the issues identified.

7.10 In addition we will assess sites/pitches for allocation, using the criteria set out in this consultation document, and identify specific sites and/or pitches which are considered suitable for allocation in the next consultation stage.

7.11 It is anticipated that this next version of the document (known as Regulation 19 draft submission) with specific draft policies and identified sites will be available for public consultation in mid-2020. All stakeholders and those that have made comments at this stage will be invited to participate.