Last edited 15 Sep 2020

Gypsies and travellers and travelling showpeople

The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) policy, Planning policy for traveller sites, published in August 2015, suggests that, for the purposes of the policy, ‘gypsies and travellers’ means:

Persons of nomadic habit of life whatever their race or origin, including such persons who on grounds only of their own or their family’s or dependants’ educational or health needs or old age have ceased to travel temporarily, but excluding members of an organised group of travelling showpeople or circus people travelling together as such.

In determining whether persons are gypsies and travellers for the purposes of this planning policy, consideration should be given to the following issues amongst other relevant matters:

  • Whether they previously led a nomadic habit of life.
  • The reasons for ceasing their nomadic habit of life.
  • Whether there is an intention of living a nomadic habit of life in the future, and if so, how soon and in what circumstances.

For the purposes of the planning policy, ‘travelling showpeople’ means:

Members of a group organised for the purposes of holding fairs, circuses or shows (whether or not travelling together as such). This includes such persons who on the grounds of their own or their family’s or dependants’ more localised pattern of trading, educational or health needs or old age have ceased to travel temporarily, but excludes Gypsies and Travellers as defined above.

For the purposes of the planning policy, ‘travellers’ means ‘gypsies and travellers’ and ‘travelling showpeople’ as defined above.

For the purposes of the planning policy, 'pitch' means a pitch on a gypsy and traveller site and 'plot' means a pitch on a travelling showpeople site (often called a 'yard'). This terminology differentiates between residential pitches for gypsies and travellers and mixed-use plots for travelling showpeople, which may / will need to incorporate space or to be split to allow for the storage of equipment.

The London Plan, Published by the Mayor of London in March 2016, defines gypsy and travellerssites as: ‘…sites either for settled occupation, temporary stopping places, or transit sites for people of nomadic habit of life, such as travellers and gypsies.’

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