Wiltshire Council to assess housing needs of boat dwellers – please complete survey by 30th September!

Wiltshire Council is carrying out an assessment of the housing needs of people who use a boat as their main home and is inviting boat dwellers both with and without a home mooring in Wiltshire to complete a survey. If you are permanently or temporarily in Wiltshire, or you travel through Wiltshire please take part. The survey is online and the Council is also going to make paper copies available. We will publicise how you can get a paper copy as soon as possible.

The survey is anonymous, so you will not be asked for any personal details or for your mooring location if you have one.

The survey will be open until 30th September and will help the Council to have a clearer view of the needs of those living on the Kennet & Avon Canal, 40 miles of which are in the county.

The survey is online here


Wiltshire Council is running this survey because Section 124 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 brought boat dwellers into the ambit of Accommodation Needs Assessments for the first time. One of the main reasons for this change was lobbying by the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA).

Since 2009, the NBTA has lobbied the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for the inclusion of Bargee Travellers/ itinerant boat dwellers in the statutory requirement of local authorities to assess the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers. In April 2009, the DCLG agreed that there was no reason why Bargee Travellers should not fall within the definition of ‘Traveller’ for the purposes of Section 225 of the Housing Act 2004, which required local authorities to assess the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers. Over the last seven years the NBTA has highlighted the policy vacuum at both central and local government level regarding itinerant boat dwellers.

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 addressed this policy vacuum for the first time in Section 124. This states that local housing authorities in England must, in their periodical reviews of housing need, consider the needs of people “residing in or resorting to their district with respect to the provision of… places on inland waterways where houseboats can be moored”. This applies to all boat dwellers, whether they have a permanent mooring or not.

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For further information email: canals@wiltshire.gov.uk

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