Scottish Borders Council issues call for sites to develop Gypsy/Traveller accommodation
Scottish Borders Council has issued a call for sites as part of proposals to develop sufficient suitable authorised accommodation to help meet the identified housing needs of Gypsy/Travellers in the area, with a particular aim of reducing the incidence of unauthorised encampments.
A report taken to council members in December on the Gypsy/Traveller needs analysis and consultation activity undertaken as part of the Local Housing Strategy 2023-2028 development process confirmed that there are no potentially suitable sites currently in council 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 at: www.scotborders.gov.uk/gypsytravellersiteprovision with a separate form required for each site. These 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 of Communities and Equalities, said: “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 will be subject to a full public consultation. A report on the findings of any consultations would be taken back to the council for the next steps to be agreed. A full Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) will also be completed.