Improving Gypsy/Traveller sites: guidance on minimum sites standards and site tenants' core rights and responsibilities

Covers minimum standards for Gypsy Traveller sites and core rights and responsibilities for those renting pitches on local authority and RSL sites.

Annex A - Minimum Site Standards and Indicators





Essential Fabric Standards

Amenity blocks are structurally sound, with good quality foundations, floors, and walls

Problems with the wall structure can be detected by: vertical or diagonal cracking, inadequate expansion joints or inadequate fixings between components, wall tie corrosion, twisted, cracked, overloading or slipped lintels due to settlement, bowing of walls and over sailing of walls at Damp Proof Course level. Problems with floors include possible rotting of an underlying wooden floor structure or sloping floors. Concrete floor structure problems would include serious cracking. Problems with the foundations can be detected by vertical or diagonal cracking of the wall structure.

Pitches have an area of hardstanding, of suitable size and quality to tolerate weight of caravans (with contents), and cars or vans / light commercial vehicles. Suitable anchor points are provided, if necessary.

Each pitch should have an area of hardstanding of suitable construction and quality that it is able to tolerate the weight of at least one caravan with occupants.

Pitches should be of a size that enables at least one caravan and car or vans/light commercial vehicle to fit on the pitch, with sufficient room left to allow site tenants and vehicles to move around, and on and off, the pitch as necessary.

Amenity block roofs are structurally sound, in good repair, and keep out water.

Problems with a roof can be detected by: sagging of roof structure by ponding; humping of the roof over internal load bearing walls and/or party walls; spreading outwards of the roof structure at the eaves. Problems with the principal roof covering and roof edges could include missing, broken or slipped slates or tiles; also including broken or slipped ridge tiles and hips; torn or cracked flat roof coverings.

Rising damp and penetrating damp are not present in amenity blocks.

Rising damp is caused by defects in the Damp Proof Course, or in older homes the lack of a damp proof course. Penetrating damp is caused by defects in the roof, the exterior walls, rainwater gutters and downpipes, or missing flashings. Mould can also be evidence of condensation, which can be avoided by adequate ventilation (e.g. windows that open or extractor fans).

Appropriate arrangements have been made for foul and surface water drainage, including gutters and downpipes for amenity block roofs.

Problems include cracked or corroded gutters or downpipes; loose or defective brackets; and missing fittings.

Windows and doors of amenity blocks are of a good quality.

Problems could include distorted or unseated window / door frames; rotted sills or sub sills; broken panes of glass; corroded, rusting or rotten ironmongery; defective, damaged or missing seals or putty, and disrepair to screens, windows and roof lights.

Access roads, and roads and paths on the site, are of good quality.

Access roads and paths should be well maintained and safe, taking into consideration road surface, lighting, verge/grass cutting, and tree pruning. This is especially important where site tenants do not have easy access to public transport, and children need to travel to school. Arrangements should be made to enable gritting of roads and paths in freezing conditions.


Energy Efficiency

Amenity blocks should meet an energy efficiency rating of band E or better.

Measures that would enhance energy efficiency might include more loft insulation, a highly efficient heating system, introducing low energy lighting, double or triple glazing.

Energy efficiency bands are defined in the Standard Assessment Procedure ( SAP) for assessing the energy performance of dwellings and are recorded in Energy Performance Certificates ( EPCs). Band E is defined as a SAP rating of 39 to 54 in SAP 2005-2012.


Facilities and Amenities

The amenity block has a wholesome water supply, with adequate water pressure.

The Water Supply (Water Quality) (Scotland) Regulations 2001 and the Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006 set the standard for 'wholesome' water supplies, and reflect a European Drinking Water Directive.

There should be sufficient water pressure to allow appliances in amenity blocks (such as washing machines) to be used normally.

The amenity block has a toilet available for the exclusive use of the occupants of the pitch.

The bathroom's main toilet and related fittings must be in a good and usable condition.

Amenity block fittings (including toilet, and any shower or bath) should be of a good quality.

The bathroom hand basin and related fittings must be in good and usable condition.

Amenity block kitchen fittings (such as storage cabinets and worktops) should be of a good quality.

The condition of the kitchen sink and kitchen storage cupboards (primarily doors, carcasses and worktops), and related fittings, should be in good and usable condition.

There should be a hot and cold water supply to amenity block sinks.

The bathroom and kitchen should have a hot and cold water supply to hand basins and the bath/shower which is in good and usable condition.

There should be adequate electrical sockets in the amenity block.

The kitchen must have at least 6 x 13 amp electrical power sockets securely mounted on the wall.


Safety and Security

There should be adequate food storage space in the amenity block.

The kitchen must have at least 1m 3 of food storage space either in the kitchen itself or immediately adjacent to the kitchen.

There are adequate and appropriately located carbon monoxide detectors and alarms.

There should be a carbon monoxide detector in every room in an amenity block that contains a carbon-fuelled fixed combustion appliance, other than an appliance used solely for cooking, and in any room which is frequently used by the site tenant(s) for general daytime living purposes.

There are adequate and appropriately located smoke alarms/detectors. Site providers should also meet their duties under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005.

In relation to an amenity block there must be at least:

one functioning smoke alarm in any room which is frequently used by the site tenant(s) for cooking and/or general daytime living purposes; and

one heat alarm in every kitchen.

Site providers should also meet their duties under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 in relation to fire safety assessments.

There is a safe electrical system, inspected once every 5 years.

The electrical system in the amenity block and elsewhere on the pitch must not be dangerous to the inhabitant as indicated by: broken casings; damaged power socket boxes; exposed wiring; other obvious signs of damage, disrepair or unauthorised alterations, especially to the consumer/meter units.

There is a safe gas/oil system (if used) and appliances. There is a gas inspection (if applicable) once a year.

The gas or oil system in the amenity block and elsewhere on the pitch must not be dangerous to the inhabitants as indicated by problems such as: wall mounted boilers in danger of detaching; rusted boilers or tanks; leaking oil tanks or pipes; holes in gas flues; balanced gas flues with unsafe guards; balanced gas flues with incorrectly positioned guards; smell of gas/oil around boiler.

There is good quality lighting of common parts of the site.

There must be adequate common or public lighting on the site.

There are appropriate road safety measures in place for roads on the site.

Appropriate measures should be in place to ensure road safety, such as speed limits and speedbumps, and appropriate signage (such as indicating to drivers that children may be playing, and to drive slowly).


Maintenance and Repairs

Repairs are carried out in line with timescales set locally for repairs for social housing tenants.

Site tenants should be given information on how to report a repair, and the timescales within which a repair should be carried out. Site tenants, along with other service users, should be consulted about the timescales for repairs.

There are adequate and good quality drainage arrangements to allow rainwater to safely drain off the site.

This includes appropriate arrangements (e.g. storm drains) to deal with heavy rainfall. There should be regular maintenance of drainage systems to ensure they are working properly.

Common parts of the site are kept in good condition, including any common areas, paths, roads, and children’s play parks.

A twice yearly informal inspection should be held of the site, to identify necessary maintenance and repairs.


Fair Treatment

Tenants are treated fairly and with dignity by the site provider. Each tenant’s individual needs are recognised, they are treated fairly and with respect, and receive fair access to accommodation.

Site tenants must be treated with respect and fairness by the site provider. There should be a clear, objective, and transparent process for the allocation of pitches, and for any procedures to ask a court to terminate a person’s tenancy on a pitch.

Individual needs in relation to the case for adaptations to an amenity block, or the external area of a pitch, should be considered.

Rents paid for pitches should provide value for money for site tenants.



Gypsy/Travellers site tenants find it easy to communicate with the site provider, and get the information they need.

Site tenants are consulted about:
- rent levels, and any plans to increase them.
- any proposed significant changes to the site (e.g. more pitches).

- other changes in the local area that will have an impact on the site, e.g. planning applications on adjacent land.


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