The Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Service operated by Dorset Council helps local councils, the police, local landowners and the Gypsy and Traveller community in this partnership working.

The service we offer includes:

  • liaising with Travellers and landowners, acting as a go-between
  • providing advice and support to landowners and the settled community
  • acting as a first point of contact for Travellers for health, welfare, housing and education issues
  • working in partnership to provide permanent and transit pitches on the county's gypsy site

The need for pitches and plots in the Dorset Council area

Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole (BCP) Council have jointly commissioned an updated assessment of need for Gypsy, Traveller, and Travelling Showpeople pitches and plots within each area. This assessment updates the findings within the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment of 2017, view the Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole Council Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (August 2022).

The assessment relates to the need for pitches and plots between 2022 to 2038 for those people who meet the planning definition for Travellers as set out in the Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (2015). The report also provides an assessment of need for those people who do not meet the planning definition for Travellers but associate themselves as Travellers, and who actively choose to live in a caravan rather than a house. The need for pitches and plots is broken down into five-year periods: 0 to 5 years, 6 to10 years, and 11 to 15 years from the 2022 start date of the assessment.

Our strategic planning team will refer to the assessment when preparing the new Dorset Council Local Plan and when taking decisions on planning applications for Travellers in Dorset Council area.

Work on a new local plan for Dorset Council and policy allocations for Traveller site

Prior to local government reorganisation in Dorset, the district, borough and county councils had been working on a Dorset-wide Gypsy and Traveller (including Travelling Showpeople) Site Allocations Joint Development Plan Document (DPD). It was intended that the DPD would allocate Gypsy and Traveller and Travelling Showpeople sites in Dorset.

As part of local government re-organisation both unitary councils (Dorset Council and BCP) committed to prepare new local plans. Dorset Council is seeking to adopt a new local plan by 2026 (view the local development scheme published in October 2022). After taking account of the change in administrative boundaries and the commitment to prepare new local plans for each unitary area, Dorset Council and BCP decided not to continue working together on the joint Traveller DPD.

Dorset Council undertook a Regulation 18 consultation on preferred options for Traveller sites in Dorset to meet the areas needs as part of preparing the new local plan. The consultation took place between January and March 2021. Officers have been reviewing the representations made through the Dorset Council Local Plan consultation 2021 alongside the latest evidence presented in the 2022 Traveller accommodation assessment before moving onto the next stages in the plan making process that are outlined in the local development scheme.

Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officer

Name: Paula Clover
Tel: 07733 476959
Full contact details