Gypsies & Travellers
How we deal with unauthorised encampments on Council land
West Sussex County Council acts on behalf of all of the District and Borough Councils in West Sussex in dealing with unauthorised encampments on Council land.
The Council is in charge of cleaning the site once the travellers have left. This usually takes place as soon as they move.
Encampments on Council land have to be dealt with as a civil matter. The police will only act if serious criminal activity, public disorder or disruption to the local community takes place.
If you see or experience any of these, then it is important for you to report them.
How do I report a crime?
If the crime is in progress - phone the Police straightaway on 999.
You can also call the police non-emergency number on 101.
Report anti-social behaviour
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 defines anti-social behaviour as acting in a manner that has "caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household" as the perpetrator.
- Show that the Gypsies/Travellers are on the land without consent
- Make enquiries regarding the general health and welfare of the group and children's education
- Ensure that the Human Rights Act 1998 has been fully complied with
- Follow a set procedure which involves proving ownership of the land, giving details of the illegal encampment, serving notices and summonses in order to successfully obtain a court order to evict the travellers from the site
This work is done on our behalf by West Sussex County Council.
Encampments on council land have to be dealt with as a civil matter. The police will only act if there is disruption to the local community.
If the encampment is on private land, then the responsibility will be with the landowner. They are expected to deal with the matter according to civil law.
Permanent Gypsy and Traveller sites in Mid Sussex
There are currently local authority sites in the following locations in Mid Sussex:
- Bedelands, Burgess Hill
- Fairplace Hill Caravan Site, Burgess Hill
- Walstead Caravan Site, Lindfield
- Horsgate caravan Site, Cuckfield
The sites are managed by West Sussex County Council, except for Bedelands which is currently managed by Mid Sussex District Council.
Our assessments show that we need more pitches in Mid Sussex and we are working to increase provision – see Traveller Sites Allocation Documents.