THE number of permanent residential and transit pitches the BCP Council area will need for the travelling community is not currently known.

Government planning policy for traveller sites requires local authority's to set pitch targets which address the likely needs of Gypsies and Travellers and travelling showpeople in their area.

BCP Council's Local Plan issues and options consultation says: "We are currently working on evidence that will set out how many permanent residential pitches and transit pitches might be needed in our area.

"Initial findings are expected in the coming months and will inform the next stage of the Local Plan process.

"We know that identifying land for pitches will be a significant challenge as it relies on landowners being willing to release land for pitches which, compared to general housing, has a much lower land value."

Despite not knowing the pitch targets figure for the conurbation, the consultation document sets out several options that could be considered in isolation or as a combination if there is an identified need for permanent residential and, or, transit pitches.

These are as follows:

  • Consider allocating site(s) within the urban area.
  • Consider if exceptional circumstances justify allocating site(s) within the Green Belt.
  • Rather than allocating sites, include a criteria-based policy against which to assess planning applications for permanent and/or transit sites.
  • Requiring pitches to be provided as part of larger, strategic sites.
  • Rather than allocating a transit site, consider alternative management approaches such as, providing unauthorised encampments with water, waste disposal and toilets.

The issues and options consultation document adds: "Transit sites can be identified, or provision is made by alternative management approaches.

"Certain groups of Gypsies and Travellers may be able to demonstrate a right to culturally appropriate accommodation under the Equality Act 2010.

"The final approach adopted in the Local Plan should provide certainty for travellers, for the resident population and help to manage unauthorised encampments."

The BCP Council area currently does not have a transit site, although its planning department is still considering an application for land off Magna Road in Bearwood.

The current lack of a transit site makes it more difficult for authorities to deal with unauthorised encampments. The nearest existing transit site is managed by Dorset Council in Piddlehinton.

Last year, BCP Council told the Daily Echo it had no plans for creating a transit site in 2021 as part of its summer planning.

Bournemouth Echo: An unauthorised encampment at Wallisdown Recreation Ground last yearAn unauthorised encampment at Wallisdown Recreation Ground last year

The issues and options consultation is open to feedback, responses and alternative ideas until March 25.

Following the issues and options consultation, the council will produce a draft Local Plan, which would go out for public feedback.

The local authority currently expects to submit its Local Plan to the Secretary of State in spring next year before an independent planning inspector examines it in detail in autumn 2023.

If all of these hurdles are cleared, the policy document would be adopted and used to inform decisions on planning applications from early 2024.

Details of the consultation can be found online at

Residents can view the consultation online, download and print a PDF copy or pick up a summary paper survey from one of the council’s libraries.

Read more on the Local Plan issues and options consultation: