Design Guide for Travellers’ sites in Northern Ireland

Date published: 13 October 2020


The Department for Communities has responsibility for publishing and maintaining a Design Guide for Travellers’ sites in NI.  The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) has the strategic role in the provision of accommodation for Travellers.  The Department has oversight responsibility for the NIHE’s strategic role in relation to Travellers’ accommodation.


The Design Guide for Travellers Sites in NI is technical guidance that seeks to outline the key issues, including the relevant planning context, that must be considered and identify the main design and management elements necessary to create high quality and sustainable Traveller sites which meet residents’ traditional and cultural needs.  

In 2020 the Department completed a comprehensive review of the existing Design guide, thereby fulfilling a DfC recommendation from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commissions report “Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Travellers’ Accommodation in Northern Ireland” published in March 2018.  The Design Guide 2020 has been updated to include current health and safety requirements, fire safety guidance, legal and technical advice in relation to fitness standards, service provisions, adaptations and advice on site licencing.  It is intended to support the provision of appropriate, cost effective facilities for Travellers living in NI.

The review included a focussed consultation with relevant statutory bodies, local councils, interest groups, members of the Traveller communities and their advice and advocacy groups.  The Consultation Document (also published) summarises the findings of the consultation exercise, which places consultation with Traveller communities and their representatives at the front and centre of any future development of a new site or redeveloped site resulting from identified need.  It is not the intention that the guide imposes uniform solutions but to take into account all relevant considerations in consultation with Traveller communities and all relevant stakeholders. 

In order to fulfil the Departments commitment to make all information accessible an easy read version of the Design Guide and the Consultation Document has been published.

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