Planning Portal

Attwood amends rural policy on travellers’ accommodation

Published on Thu, 31 Jan 2013 by
Environment Minister Alex Attwood today published an amended planning policy to better reflect the particular accommodation needs of travellers.
This new Policy HS 3 will allow serviced sites (sites with amenities such as water, electricity etc) for travellers to be considered in entirely rural locations. The previous policy meant that such facilities could only be considered in settlements (cities, towns and villages or hamlets).

Alex Attwood said: “The needs of travellers will now be more flexibly accommodated through the planning process by allowing for serviced sites outside settlements –where a need exists.

“This final amended policy takes on board the representations made during the public consultation exercise.

DOE is helping to make Northern Ireland a place where everyone is treated fairly and equally. The traveller community has particular housing needs and I hope that this amended policy will assist in meeting those needs.”

The previous policy provided for grouped housing, serviced sites and transit sites for travellers within, adjoining or in close proximity to settlements. However, in rural areas there was only provision for grouped housing and transit sites – not serviced sites. This amendment provides policy provision for serviced sites for travellers outside settlements.

The Minister concluded: “This amended policy and indeed all of the changes I am making to the planning system reflect my determination to ensure that DOE Planning provides an effective and responsive service for everyone whilst protecting the environment. In coming weeks, I intend to publish a series of further reform measures. These range from agricultural permitted development rights; the publication in final form of PPS 16 ‘Tourism’; policy measures around affordable housing; and a final version of PPS 2 ‘Natural Heritage’.

Notes to editors:

1. Policy HS 3 ‘Travellers Accommodation’ (amended) was published in draft in July 2011 for a 12 week period of public consultation ending on 30 September 2011. DOE received a total of 22 responses (and three nil responses) from a range of public bodies, community, and voluntary groups; local councils and individuals. The final document together with a Synopsis of Consultation Responses can be accessed at:
2. Previously, existing policy on traveller accommodation provided for grouped housing, serviced sites and transit sites within, adjoining or in close proximity to settlements. Outside settlements there was provision for grouped housing and transit sites – but not serviced sites.
3. Policy HS 3 has been amended to ensure that, in such circumstances, serviced sites could be considered in the countryside where a need is identified and no other sites are available.
4. This is an amendment to policy HS3 contained in the existing Planning Policy Statement 12 – Housing in Settlements.
5. Planning Policy Statements set out DOE policies on particular aspects of land use planning and other planning matters and apply to the whole of Northern Ireland. Their contents are taken into account as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications and appeals.
6. A copy of this document can be obtained from DOE’s Planning Policy Division, Millennium House, Third Floor, 17-25 Great Victoria Street, Malone Lower, Belfast, BT2 7BN.
7. All media enquiries should be directed to the DOE Press Office on 028 9025 6058 or for out of office hours, contact the duty press officer on pager 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
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