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Gypsies & Travellers
As with any other individual, all gypsies and travellers have rights under the 1998 Human Rights Act.
Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are also protected against discrimination on the basis of their ethnic origins under the 2010 Equalities Act.
Gypsies and Travellers will visit the area for a number of reasons, which include looking for employment, seasonal holiday travel, and to visit relatives.
We receive information quickly from a number of sources when Gypsies and Travellers are in the area. Working with Sussex Police, other agencies and the Gypsies/Travellers themselves, we seek to minimize disruption to residents during such a visit.
Where cases of unauthorised camping are identified, each case is taken on its own merit following Government guidelines.
The Police have powers to move unauthorised encampments off land where criminal activities by Gypsies/Travellers can be established. However, crime has to be proven in the same way, as that committed by any individual has to be proven.
The Police can use powers to remove trespassers under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 where there is a significant impact to the local community or other users of the land, a significant impact upon the land or a risk to life posed by the site.
The landowner should take reasonable steps to ask the trespassers to leave before police powers can be used. The police will not normally be expected to use eviction powers where there is an unauthorised encampment without the above factors. Relevant Human Rights processes are used in all decisions made.
- Report the encampment to the local authority or private landowner
- Report any criminal activity to the police or anti-social behaviour to us.
- Be factual when reporting any information to the relevant authorities.
- Do not use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.
- Do not try to evict them yourself.
Local community social media sites are not routinely monitored by us and the police. You will not receive an official response or action by reporting it through these channels.
- Check if the encampment has already been reported. West Sussex County Council has information on its website on reported encampments and progress of these
- Report an unauthorised encampment on our land
- Report anti-social behaviour to us
- Anti-social behaviour is defined as acting in a manner that has "caused or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household" as the perpetrator.
- Report hate crime to us
- Where there is racial abuse, hostility and discrimination towards the gypsy and traveller community, this may constitute a hate incident or hate crime
- Any criminal activity should be reported to the police on 999 if the crime is in progress. For non-emergencies, please call 101
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.
MSDC does not hold a waiting list for Gypsies & Travellers sites but West Sussex County Council does hold such a list for pitches on their sites.https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/land-waste-and-housing/housing/gypsy-and-traveller-sites/