BaNES traveller policy may include boat dwellers

Bath and NE Somerset Council is looking at whether to include boat dwellers in its provision for travellers. Its 2007 Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) does not assess the accommodation needs of boat dwellers. However, a meeting in February 2012 was to look at the GTAA and assess the need for a review including looking at the feasibility of including boat dwellers’ accommodation needs in the GTAA. BaNES Council is  aware that there are unknown quantities of unmet needs amongst people living on the waterways and, if these are not to be covered under the same document, then it is very likely that the Council will seek that information separately.

The Council is waiting for BW to publish the Local Mooring Strategy proposals before taking any further view, since the Local Mooring Strategy could have implications for further provision. In other words, BaNES Council is aware that the Local Mooring Strategy could result in boaters being made homeless and that the local authority would have to step in. BaNES says it is also developing a corporate policy on the needs of Travelling communities and that the  inclusion of people living on the waterways in this policy is likely.

The BaNES Planning Policy team is also working on a document called the Placemaking Plan. This will make site allocations for development sites and there will be the opportunity for the public to engage with that and seek allocations, including potentially for residential moorings. The first consultation stage on that document is due in Autumn 2012.

BaNES and BW held a meeting on 8 December 2011 at which a Memorandum of Understanding between the organisations was proposed. We are seeking this document through Freedom of Information.

For more information about these developments, contact the BaNES Supporting People/Planning & Partnership Manager on 01225 396288.

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