Gypsies and Travellers

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:12 pm on 10th September 2018.

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Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 10:12 pm, 10th September 2018

I do recognise the problem that my hon. Friend raises, and I would be more than happy to sit down with him and discuss what specific changes he thinks are required to planning legislation to deal with some of these anomalies. Anything we can do to facilitate correct planning enforcement, particularly on some of these condition issues, would obviously be welcome. I am happy to give him that undertaking.

Site licence conditions can govern matters such as the permitted number of caravans on the site, the provision of roads, utilities, sewerage and fire equipment, and spacing distances between homes. Local authorities can serve compliance notices on the park owner if they fail to meet the conditions stipulated in the site licence, and can prosecute them if they fail to comply. If the site owner is convicted—if local authorities can identify the site owner—they may face an unlimited fine. Of course, when the health and safety of residents is at risk, a local authority can enter a site and do the necessary works without taking the owner to court. The authority will in any of these cases often seek to recover all its enforcement costs, including for court cases, and charge interest on the expenses claimed from the site’s owner.