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Supporting Surrey's new Gypsy and Traveller transit site

We are reducing the impact of unauthorised Traveller encampments on local communities by supporting and helping to fund the creation of a Gypsy and Traveller transit site in Surrey.

In collaboration with the council leaders of 10 boroughs and districts in Surrey as well as Surrey Police, we have agreed that the site will be able to accommodate 10 vehicles at a location yet to be confirmed. It will be built by Surrey County Council during financial year 2021-22 and managed by the Surrey County Council Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Team. 

Leader of the Council, Cllr Joss Bigmore says: 

"This site will help to minimise the impact of Traveller encampments on our residents and green spaces, and will also provide a suitable facility for Travellers entering the county. This project has long been supported at both county and borough level because of the additional powers it gives to the Police. While we recognise that this site will not solve all of the problems created by unauthorised encampments, it will be a significant step forward. 

"It is becoming increasingly difficult for Travellers to find suitable places to live due to a lack of pitches. As a result, they are often forced to locate in overcrowded areas which are unsuitable for both Travellers and local residents. We hope that this new site will be of benefit to everybody in our community and prevent the disputes which sometimes occur. I thank my colleagues in the Surrey Leaders' Group and Surrey Police for their support."

The site will help Police to manage unauthorised encampments across the county through Section 62A of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which gives them authority to remove trespassers where an alternative site is available. We work with landowners to move unauthorised encampments, with the process usually taking up to 10 working days, but the new transit site will allow Police to move encampments on faster. It will also stop the Travellers from returning to the borough within three months. 

We will make a one-off payment of £127,000 towards the building of the site, and a yearly contribution of £7,500 for site maintenance as part of the scheme. 

Our contribution consists of £127,000 of capital funding - which includes £115,000 already allocated to protecting our parks and open spaces from Traveller encampments - and £7,500 of revenue funding. The host borough will not make a financial contribution. 

Published 25 February 2021