Gypsies and Travellers
Gypsies, Romany ethnic groups, Irish and New Age Travellers have a nomadic way of life.
Who are Gypsies and Travellers?
Travelling the country and settling for a period of time to earn a living, Gypsies and Travellers work a variety of occupations and those living on local authority or private owned sites pay Council Tax, rent, gas, electricity and other charges.
Negative media coverage
Well located authorised sites should reduce disputes between the settled community and Gypsies and Travellers and lead to less negative coverage.
Existing Gypsy and Traveller site in Stevenage
Dyes Lane to the west of the A1(M) is publicly run by Hertfordshire County Council and provides 14 pitches. A pitch is the space required to accommodate one household. The average pitch has space for up to two caravans. We are considering providing a second residential site for the Gypsy and Traveller community. Any proposals will be subject to full public consultation through the normal planning application and possibly the local plan preparation process.
Residential or permanent sites are authorised sites provided by us or owned by the Gypsies and Travellers for long term residences.
Transit sites are provided by local authorities for short stays. Provided on a permanent basis with basic amenities and services such as water supply, toilets, washing facilities, utility rooms and waste disposal, transit sites can be present on permanent sites.
Unauthorised development is land that is owned by Gypsies and Travellers but does not have planning permission to be used as a residential or transit site.
Land that is being used without the permission of the owner is an unauthorised encampment.
Government policy allows that a case can be put forward for Green Belt use under very special circumstances such as a lack of suitable alternative sites.
Moving Gypsies and Travellers
If Gypsies and Travellers are on private land, this is usually the landowner's responsibility. The landowner can try and agree a leaving date with the Gypsies and Travellers and can obtain a Court Order for eviction.
The landowner can let the Gypsies and Travellers stay if they have planning permission for a caravan site and is a farmer employing fruit pickers. Otherwise, they could be in breach of Planning Acts and the Acts dealing with the licensing of caravan sites.
We can take proceedings against the landowner to require removal of the illegal encampment.
Gypsies and Travellers on council-owned land
We must show that the Gypsies and Travellers are on the land without consent. We will make enquiries regarding general health, welfare and children’s education. We follow a set procedure (including complying with the Human Rights Act 1998) in terms of providing the Court with details of the ownership of land and the illegal encampment.
If the Gypsies and Travellers are causing problems, they will be moved on as soon as possible and reasonable. They must keep the site tidy and not cause public health concerns. Refuse collection facilities may be provided for this purpose.