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Consultation launch to help understand needs of communities

Test Valley Borough Council is to launch a consultation with the local Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople communities to help identify ways to meet their needs in the borough.

Over the next few months, the borough council, through consultants, will be contacting a number of families from these communities to help understand their potential housing need and look at land that could be available to meet it. Both temporary and permanent sites can be identified as part of the work.

This consultation work forms part of the borough council’s draft Gypsy and Traveller Development Plan Document (DPD). Previous consultation work by the authority earmarked land in Gardeners Lane, Wellow, and a site at Bunny Lane, Timsbury. Providing suitable allocated sites for members of these communities will also ensure applications for inappropriate areas of land are less likely.

The land in Gardeners Lane currently has planning permission and is helping to meet the needs of a number of families. The aim of the new DPD is to identify new land which could be used to aid housing need for members of the Gypsy and Travelling Showpeople communities following further understanding of the local situation since the previous document was drafted.

Portfolio holder for planning policy, and deputy leader of the borough council, Nick Adams-King, said: “We’re determined to reach out and help meet the needs of all members of our community.

“I’m very pleased that the work undertaken from our previous consultation with members of this community has led to a number of families being helped with the land in Wellow. Our aim now is to build on this for the future. We’ll start by progressing sites that have been previously proposed for allocation while seeing if there are any other areas that may be able to help us.”

The work to draft a new DPD is in respect of settled Gypsy and Travelling communities and is separate to the authority’s continued efforts to deter and prevent illegal encampments across the borough.

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