Published: Wednesday, 1st March 2023
A call for sites is being issued as part of proposals to develop sufficient suitable authorised accommodation to help meet the identified housing needs of Gypsy/Travellers in the area.
A key aim of the proposals is to reduce incidences of unauthorised encampments.
A report was taken to Council in December 2022 on the Gypsy/Traveller needs analysis and consultation activity undertaken as part of the Local Housing Strategy 2023-2028 development process. This confirmed that there are no potentially suitable sites currently in our ownership that could be utilised for Gypsy/Traveller accommodation provision.
It was agreed that a call for sites would be issued to help identify suitable land opportunities. This invites land owners, developers, agents or any other interested parties to submit proposed sites in the Scottish Borders area that they think might be suitable for Gypsy/Traveller caravan pitch accommodation.
Proposals should be submitted on the Pro Forma document available to download from our website. A separate form is required for each site and should be accompanied by a location plan, clearly showing the site boundary.
Closing date for submissions is Friday 14 April 2023.
All submitted sites will be assessed using criteria based on needs identified through the Local Housing Strategy’s Gypsy/Traveller needs analysis and Scottish Government guidance on minimum site standards.
Councillor Robin Tatler, Executive Member Communities and Equalities
“Through the work being taken forward to develop our new Local Housing Strategy, a consultation process was undertaken with Gypsy/Traveller families and national representatives to better understand the accommodation needs of the Gypsy/Traveller community and how these could be met more effectively in the Borders.
“It became clear that what is currently provided is neither adequate nor flexible enough and we need to do more to provide appropriate, quality accommodation options for Gypsy/Traveller groups. Identifying potential sites also helps avoid unauthorised encampments and encourages good relations and harmony across our communities.
“I welcome the progress that has been made in terms of seeking to extend the authorised provision that could potentially be made available and would encourage anyone with a site that could be suitable to get their submissions in ahead of the closing date on 14 April.”
Once the call for sites has been concluded, any potential sites will be shortlisted for consideration. Should they meet the relevant criteria, they would be subject to a full public consultation.
A report on the findings of any consultations would also be taken back to Council for the next steps to be agreed.
A full Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) will also be completed.
- A copy of the Gypsy/Traveller Site Provision Needs Analysis and Consultation Update report is available in the meeting papers for Council 15 December 2022 (Item 5). This provides more information about the call for sites and the proposals generally.
- The plans are being taken forward as part of the revised Local Housing Strategy, currently being updated to cover the period 2023-28. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 places a statutory requirement on local authorities to produce a Local Housing Strategy every five years which sets out the vision, strategy, priorities and plans for the delivery of housing and related services, including for the Gypsy and Gypsy/Traveller community.
- Information about our current provision for Gypsy/Travellers is available on our website.