News from Mr Pickles and the DCLG
Item 1. The Government is to bring s.318 Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 into force, finally according travellers on authorised sites the same security as those who come under the Mobile Homes Act. Hurrah.
Item 2. Planning circulars regarding construction of authorised travellers sites are being scrapped. Apparently because Councils complained about being forced to build on countryside and undertake compulsory purchase. Actual examples of either are welcome if anyone has come across them – we’d be interested.
Item 3. The regional strategies have already gone.
Item 4. ‘Plans for further powers for councils to combat unauthorised development’. Awaited…
Item 5. ‘New Homes Bonus Scheme’ to be extended to travellers’ sites, so councils get financial benefits for building authorised sites ‘where they are needed’. But what happened to the frozen Gypsy and Traveller site grant budget (or what was left of it)? That form of direct payment to Councils to develop sites has vanished.
Localism – it’s been tried before and didn’t work in this context. I’m not holding my breath for the sudden appearance of much needed authorised sites.
Meanwhile, Birmingham is worried about the Pope and trespassing Travellers. Don’t go near Birmingham without a ‘Pilgrim Pass’ on 19 September, apparently.
There is an argument, although not one vocally espoused by NL, that visiting Birmingham on that or indeed any other date would be penance enough to both qualify one as a pilgrim and to have 5 or 6 venial sins and possibly a mortal one wiped off the slate. But right now all I really want to do is pop Richard Dawkins into a two bed towable and head up the M6…