HC Deb 09 February 2004 vol 417 cc1358-9W
Andrew Selous

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister in circumstances when unauthorised developments by travellers and gipsies are permitted by planning inspectors or the Secretary of State because of the traveller and gipsy status of the inhabitants, what requirements his Department places on those inhabitants to maintain a traveller or gipsy lifestyle; and what this lifestyle must consist of. [153723]

Keith Hill

For the purposes of planning law, a gipsy is a person of nomadic habit of life, whatever their race or origin. Nomadic implies a connection between the person's travels and their means of making or seeking their livelihood. Gipsy status may be a material consideration taken into account in deciding whether to grant planning permission for a caravan site established without it. Planning permission is not simply granted because of the gipsy status of the inhabitants. Court decisions mean that nomadic and gipsy status are not necessarily lost where travel is periodic, seasonal or ceases temporarily. However, a person who retired permanently from travelling for whatever reason (e.g. ill-health) would cease to be a gipsy for planning law purposes and would be in breach of a planning condition limiting the use of a caravan site to gipsies. Enforcement of planning control is a matter for the local planning authority.