An authorised Gypsy site could be created in Ramsgate if councillors grant permission

The application is for land off Newlands Lane

A Gypsy site could be created on land in Ramsgate if Thanet council approves planning permission.

An application has been made to convert Little Newlands Piggery off Newlands Lane into “two Gypsy pitches with two caravans on each pitch together with formation of hardstanding and ancillary dayroom.”

The site, at the rear of Forelands Fields School, would house one mobile home , one touring caravan and a utility/dayroom. The utility/dayroom will provide facilities to minimize hazards associated with cooking and fire in the close confines of caravans and provide facilities for washing and bathing.

The application states: “The development site is located in green wedge between Northwood and Broadstairs. The site is sustainable with school and bus stop within walking distance and supermarket 1.6km away. The site is located on the north side of Newlands Lane. The site is bounded by the the open fields.”

The agent, Green Planning Studio based in Shrewsbury,  adds: “There will be children living on the site and as such any decision taken by the council should be made having considered the best interests of the children on the site.

“There is an explicit requirement to treat the needs of the children on the site as a primary consideration and, in respect of a decision by the LPA to safeguard and promote the welfare and well-being of the children.”

Thanet council is currently dealing with an illegal encampment of Travellers at Jackey Bakers.

A spokesman said: ““Officers from Thanet District Council’s Community Safety Team, with support from the police, have visited the location (known as Jackey Bakers) to conduct the required checks and to issue the individuals with a formal notice requiring that they depart.”

The application was submitted on May 31 and is awaiting decision.

The nearest authorised Travellers sites to Thanet are at Aylesham and Canterbury.

Providing Traveller sites – the law

The Housing Act 2004 and Planning Circular 01/2006, Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites, has put in place a framework which means every local authority has to identify land for the sites that are needed in its area. The Secretary of State has powers that can ensure that those sites are identified, and the Local Government Association (LGA) says local authorities should be proactive in doing so.

The LGA adds: “The provision of these sites removes a major cause of friction between the two communities – unauthorised sites and illegal camping.”

The Gypsy and Traveller communities

According to a report by the LGA there are around 16,000 Gypsy and Traveller caravans in England. Around three quarters of these caravans are on authorised sites.

Many of these sites are well-managed and are an accepted part of the local community. In 1994 the duty on local authorities to provide sites was removed and since then under-provision of authorised sites has resulted in Gypsies and Travellers camping on land that they do not own (unauthorised encampments) or developing their own land without planning permission (unauthorised developments).

While the number of caravans on unauthorised encampments has started to decline, the number of caravans on unauthorised developments has increased. The average size of an unauthorised development is around 4 caravans, and private sites with planning permission have an average of 6 caravans.