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Traveller Local Plan to be put together by Royal Borough  

Will Taylor

Will Taylor

A plan to meet the needs of Traveller communities in the borough will be put together by the Royal Borough.

Councils are required to assess the groups’ needs, set targets about pitches and plots and hold a five year supply of sites that hit those targets.

A draft ‘issues and options’ paper has been sent to councillors, and will be considered by members of the Royal Borough’s cabinet before being published.

“Travellers have been present in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for centuries,” the draft document states.

“For example, Royal Ascot week was used as a meeting place by gypsies since it began in 1711 and historically Travellers centred around Datchet and towards Heathrow Airport.

“There is anecdotal evidence of a Traveller encampment historically located near to Windsor Castle where food and provisions were provided by the reigning monarch, Queen Victoria.”

By demonstrating a five-year supply of plots for Travellers, a Traveller Local Plan will help protect the council from appeals if the borough refused permission for a site it didn’t want.

A consultation was carried out in 2017 to identify accommodation needs for gypsies, Travellers, Travelling showpeople and houseboat dwellers.

Gypsies and Travellers are nationally defined as ‘persons of nomadic habit of life whatever their race or origin’.

If backed by the cabinet, the plan will be published for consultation in January, with a call for sites starting then too.

In autumn 2019, the draft plan would be published, and representations will be welcomed from spring 2020.

The plan will then be submitted in summer 2020, with a view to being adopted later 2020 or early 2021.

Cabinet member for planning Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray) said the plan is ‘critical’ and ‘is something that we have got to put to bed’.

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