The Gypsy and Traveller community has different accommodation needs to the settled community, however as with the settled community the type of need varies. Although travelling is recognised as part of their cultural heritage, not all Gypsies and Travellers actually travel.
Many of the County’s Gypsy Traveller population choose to live in housing. Whilst others live on authorised sites which may be socially or privately rented/owned or they may live on unauthorised sites when authorised sites are not available. The 2005 Traveller Needs Assessment estimated that 58% of households live in caravans and 42% live in settled housing.
In the January 2010 Count of Gypsy and Traveller Caravans in England the total caravan count in Cambridgeshire was 1,278. Of these, 92% (1,180) were on authorised sites (with planning permission) and 8% (98) were on unauthorised sites (without planning permission).
The recent revocation of the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) which set the existing targets for additional pitches in each local authority has implications for assessment of need and future planning of site provision. The Cambridgeshire City and District Councils will have to review the assumptions made at the regional level in relation to the need for additional residential and transit pitches for Gypsies and Travellers and ensure that this information is incorporated within their Development Plans.
Data sources on the number of Gypsies and Travellers in ‘bricks and mortar’ housing are very limited. However, those living in settled housing may face particular problems with maintaining their tenancy, lack of support, racism and isolation. Gypsies and Travellers are at risk of homelessness.