The single issue review of its Regional Spatial Strategy, "Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation in the East of England" currently being carried out by the East of England Regional Assembly reflects the important role that "Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Circular 1/06, Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Sites" gives to Regional Spatial Strategies in addressing the shortage of authorised accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers.
The main steps in the process are:
Local authorities assess needs through their Gypsy and Traveller accommodation assessments;
The regional planning body (i.e. the Regional Assembly) defines the total level of need in the region and the level of additional pitch provision at district council level through its regional spatial strategy;
The regional spatial strategy is confirmed by the Secretary of State, following an examination in public conducted by an independent panel if necessary;
Local planning authorities define the locations for new sites through their local development documents and ensure delivery through their strategic housing role.
The Regional Assembly gave a commitment to carry out such a review in early 2006 at the examination in public into the main review of the East of England regional spatial strategy, where it admitted that its policy did not meet the requirements of the Circular.
We are grateful to the Regional Assembly for its work on the Gypsy and Traveller accommodation review, which is the first in the country to fully reflect the requirements of circular 1/06.