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Preferred Options Consultation - Land at Stratford Road, Warwick
1.1 The Council is required by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2012 and the Housing Act 2004 to meet the accommodation needs of the population within their area. This includes the needs of the Gypsy and Traveller community and that of Travelling Show People. The Housing Act, 2004, placed a duty upon local authorities to produce assessments of current and future accommodation need for Gypsies and Travellers on a strategic, regional basis.
1.2 The NPPF states that the framework “should be read in conjunction with the Government’s Planning Policy for Traveller Sites”. This policy document was published in March 2012 to accompany the NPPF. This sets out the government’s aims in respect of Traveller sites.
1.3 The document includes a requirement to identify a five year supply of sites and to update this annually through monitoring of delivery. Beyond this date, areas of search can be identified to provide for sites required in years 6-15 of the Plan Period
1.4 To meet the identified need, Warwick District Council is committed to allocating sustainable and affordable sites for permanent residential needs of its Gypsy and Traveller Community and Travelling Show People through the Local Plan process and for meeting its transit need.
1.5 To ensure that its future evidence base is robust and reliable, the Council commissioned a new Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) for Warwick District in 2012, undertaken by Salford University. The report was published in November 2012 and demonstrates a need for 31 permanent pitches to be provided over a 15 year period, 25 within the first five years and in addition, 6-8 transit pitches over the full 15 years. There was no additional need identified for Travelling Show people; the existing site providing accommodation for both current and future need.
1.6 The Council held a Gypsy and Traveller Site Options consultation from 14 June to 29 July 2013 and a Preferred Options consultation was carried out between 17 March to 5 May 2014. Since the close of the consultation however, the Council has been made aware of a hitherto unidentified area of land off Stratford Road at Warwick, which currently lies within a ‘cordon sanitaire’ around the Sewage Treatment Works. It is possible that if some additional investment is made in the Sewage Treatment Works, the ‘cordon sanitaire’ may be reduced which would release a large area of land around the works; particularly to the south, for potential development. Warwick District Council also owns an area of land here which could be included within the overall development to make up a total of some 26ha. It is suggested that the land could be used for employment/commercial uses and the Council also considers that a permanent site for Gypsies and Travellers could be accommodated here.
1.7 As this site had not previously been considered, site assessment work has been undertaken to provide evidence of suitability and we must now appraise it. A public consultation must also be undertaken to gain the views of others. The technical reports forming the evidence base are published on the Council’s website.
1.8 The new Preferred Option site is 2ha in total and would allow for the siting of 15 pitches with associated access road, open space and significant landscaping buffers. The landscaping would assist in screening the site visually and would contribute toward noise attenuation.