The London Plan 2021 was published on 2nd March 2021, setting policies for how London will develop over the next 10 years. In February 2019, Gypsies and Travellers spoke up for housing rights at the Plan’s examination hearing.
The Plan includes a policy on Gypsy and Traveller accommodation which requires London Boroughs to meet need for permanent sites, actively protect existing sites and gain a better understanding of overcrowding, need for refurbishment and opportunities to expand sites.
However, one of the key aspects of the original policy, a wider definition of Travellers that includes people who permanently stopped travelling, has been deleted from the final version of the Plan, following a direction by the Secretary of State.
The more inclusive definition was seen as a positive acknowledgement of the pressing need for culturally suitable accommodation for all Gypsies and Travellers, and was strongly supported by LGT, the London Gypsy and Traveller Forum, and almost a thousand Gypsies and Travellers who responded to the consultation in 2018.
However, the London Plan states that ‘The Mayor will initiate and lead a London-wide Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs assessment, and will work to support boroughs in finding ways to make provision for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation.’
The GLA is in the process of finalising the budget for the study and we will post updates about the timeline when we have more information. Funding remains available for Local Authorities through the Affordable Homes Programme to deliver new sites.
Tom Copley, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development said: “The Mayor of London understands the urgent need for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation. The Mayor is committed to carrying out a London-wide assessment of the accommodation needs of all Gypsies and Travellers. As part of this, we recognise the crucial importance of working in partnership with Gypsy and Travellers and representative organisations to plan and carry out this important research, which will provide an important evidence base for all London boroughs.
The Mayor is supporting better provision of suitable accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers through the Affordable Homes Programme and through capital funding to help remodel existing Gypsy and Traveller sites and pitches in need of refurbishment or to build new sites.”
The London Plan 2021 can be found here