Gypsy, Traveller and Showpeople Guidance

Everyone should have the opportunity of a safe and comfortable home. These homes are a key element of any thriving, sustainable community. This is true for the Gypsy and Traveller communities.

There has been various guidance and recommendations on the design and delivery for Gypsy and Traveller sites over the past 20 years. These have ranged from detailed design guidance through to policy led documents. Currently the only guidance that remains is the Planning Policy for Traveller Sites 2015 (PPTS), which should be read in conjunction with the NPPF, where this is purely policy led. There is a clear detachment of the requirement for design focus in terms of Gypsy and Traveller communities. 

The following guidance has been commissioned by the Essex Planning Officers Association to address the need for guidance in relation to Gypsy, Traveller and Showpeople sites only. The requirement has come from recent calls for further sites where design and quality should be considered at all stages of the planning process. The overarching aims of these sections are to ensure core consideration on quality, sustainability, wellbeing, community and design are acknowledged and applied.


  • Promotion of good quality design
  • Consideration of safe and accessible Gypsy, Traveller and Showpeople sites.
  • Promote sustainable and healthy communities
  • Consider active design principles
  • Promote integration of communities

The guidance has been written based on consultation with Local Planning Authorities, Essex County Council and representatives in the Gypsy, Traveller and Showpeople community. The feedback on consultation has allowed the guidance to be tailored to suit the need and requirements when designing and assessing a Gypsy and Traveller site planning application. The guidance has purposely been written to not address site selection and other policy led discussions. The aim of the guidance is to provide an overarching guide on core design principles which should be considered.

The guidance will also be linked with the overarching themes and principles driven within the Essex Design Guide. Where applicable references and links will be made to the main design guidance. These will include health and wellbeing, active design, aging populations and smart technologies.

The guiding principles contained in this section are intended to concentrate more closely on good design, sustainability, healthy sites and contextual considerations, in the context of Gypsy, Traveller and Showpeople sites provision.

The guidance is aimed to familiarise the Gypsy and Traveller community, developers and local planning authorities with the key elements necessary to develop and design a successful site and to identify good practice using case study examples to illustrate different approaches.

This guidance makes clear that there is no single, appropriate design for sites, any more than there is for general housing development. Early and regular consultation with prospective residents is a crucial element in getting the design right for any new site, considering the needs of residents and the physical characteristics of the site itself.

The following principles are for consideration only and do not outweigh planning policy and guidance. Each planning application will be assessed on its own merits.

Page updated: 11/09/2019

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