Unauthorised Encampments on Council Land
We are unable to remove gypsies/travellers from our land immediately. When we are made aware of an unauthorised encampment on public land, this is what we do:
- We establish that gypsies/travellers are on Council land without consent;
- We visit the site at the earliest possible opportunity to establish how many occupants and vehicles are on site and complete a Needs Assessment regarding occupant’s general health, welfare and education and arrange any appropriate services to meet any welfare needs (i.e. arrange medical appointments)
- Visit the site on a daily basis to monitor the situation and deliver waste collection bags to minimise the impact of the encampment on the area.
In accordance with Government guidance, we will then take a decision as to whether to tolerate a period of occupation, i.e. not take any proactive steps to remove the gypsies/travellers for a certain period of time. This may be appropriate if the gypsies/travellers give a clear indication that they will only be on the site for a brief period of time and there are no issues arising from their encampment.
If it is decided that this approach is not appropriate, we will serve a Notice on the gypsies/travellers directing them to leave the land within a reasonable specified time period. If they fail to leave the land within the time specified in the Notice, we will apply to the Magistrates Court for a formal hearing to ask for an Order to remove the occupants and their vehicles. The Court will decide whether the we will be granted permission (an Order) to move the encampment on.
The Court may refuse to grant an Order if there is an unavoidable reason for the gypsies/travellers to stay on the site, or if the Court believes that we have failed to make adequate enquiries regarding the general health and welfare of the gypsies/travellers. If the Order is granted, it will have a date by which the encampment must leave. If the date has passed and the site has not been vacated, we will employ bailiffs to carry out an eviction and clear the land. We will then clean and secure the area.
Unauthorised Encampments on the Highway
If the encampment is on or at the side of a road, it is usually the responsibility of North Yorkshire County Council (as opposed to Selby District Council).
Unauthorised Encampments on Private Land (including land belonging to Parish Councils)
If gypsies/travellers are camped on private land, it is the landowner's responsibility to move them, or in the case of land belonging to the Parish Council, then the Parish Council is responsible for moving them on. We will attend the site to complete a Needs Assessment and visit daily to distribute waste collection bags. We recommend private landowners/ Parish Councils in this situation seek their own, independent, legal advice.
If the landowner allows the gypsies/travellers to stay on the land, he or she may be in breach of planning or licensing regulations, in which instance we would look to take proceedings against the landowner to demand the removal of the illegal encampment.