Gypsies and Travellers living in the capital have until 2nd March to respond to the Mayor’s draft London Plan. And LGT is supporting a new postcard campaign to help Gypsies and Travellers let the Mayor know how the plan could affect them and their community.
The London Plan, when finalised, will shape how London grows and develops. Its housing and planning proposals are likely to have a major impact on the lives of Gypsies and Travellers living in London.
Ilinca Diaconescu, LGT’s Policy Officer, has welcomed the draft London Plan for the positive moves it makes to recognise Gypsies and Travellers’ housing need. But it needs to go further.
“The plan makes some significant steps forward in recognising Gypsies and Travellers as part of London’s communities,” she says. “But the Mayor needs to be stronger in making the delivery of new sites a reality, and giving it the same priority as other types of housing.”
What’s in the plan?
The draft London Plan includes a policy specifically dedicated to Gypsy and Traveller accommodation. The policy is based on a new definition of Gypsies and Travellers which includes people who are permanently settled or living in housing due to a shortage of sites, recognising the negative impacts created by government’s policies. It requires boroughs to:
- carry out accommodation needs assessments and to plan to meet identified need based on the new definition
- review living conditions, overcrowding, need for refurbishment and potential to expand existing sites
- plan to protect existing Gypsy and Traveller sites.
In putting together the plan, the Mayor’s team has taken on board much of the evidence gathered as part of LGT’s Mapping the Pathway to Equality project, and presented to the team in the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Topic Paper.
You can read the full policy on pages 190-193 of the Draft London Plan.
The community response
Before Christmas, community members and support organisations came together at LGT to discuss the draft policy and brainstorm ideas for making sure that hundreds of Gypsies and Travellers respond to the Mayor.
As a result of the community meeting, LGT has produced a postcard response which will be distributed to Gypsies and Travellers on sites and in houses over the next month. It calls on the Mayor to strengthen the policy, for new pitches to go towards meeting housing targets and for boroughs to be held accountable if they don’t deliver.
How to give feedback to the Mayor
You have until 2nd March 2018 to give feedback to the Mayor on the new London Plan – you can tell him what’s good in the plan and, more importantly, what can be improved and how. All responses will be read. This is your chance to make a difference and make sure the Mayor’s plan will deliver. You can play your part by:
- Filling in and sending the postcard response – contact us if you want copies
- Writing a letter – support is available from London Gypsies and Travellers
- Coming to the London Gypsy and Traveller Forum on 13th February at City Hall to feed back directly to the Mayor’s team
- Talking to family, friends and neighbours and encouraging them to be involved
For more details contact Ilinca at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the LGT office on 020 8533 2002
Main picture: London Assembly member Tom Copley (centre) displays LGT’s London Plan postcard response outside City Hall, alongside (left to right) Yva Alexandrova Meadway, Geraldine Lindsey, Mena Mongan, Claire Cooper and Betsy Mobey