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Unauthorised Encampments

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2. Frequently asked questions

They have broken onto the site - is that criminal damage?

We always work with local police when managing unauthorised encampments. If there is evidence of criminal damage or any other criminal behaviour on a site, then the police will take action. If you have concerns about a crime being committed or serious anti-social behaviour then please contact the police to make sure the matter is logged. 

We have no evidence that crime and disorder within an area increases when Gypsies and Travellers are camped nearby.

How long will it take for the Unauthorised Encampment to be removed?

This will depend upon the circumstances of each individual case. We will need to take account of all of the issues outlined above as well as how soon we can get a court hearing date.

Why do we use Part 55 Civil Procedure Rules?

Part 55 of the Civil Procedure Rules permits us to issue proceedings against persons unknown and once an order is obtained, it can be used to prevent those same persons from returning to the same site for approximately 6 months. Therefore if there are any new additions to the encampment once proceedings have been served, they become subject to the same proceedings.

The use of Part 55 of the Civil Procedure Rules is widely used by local authorities.

We keep under review its management of unauthorised encampments, in doing so Part 55 of the Civil Procedure Rules continues to be the most cost effective, reliable and expedient route in managing such encampments on Council owned land.

The use of Part 55 Civil Procedure Rules is generally known and understood by those who local authorities seek possession against and tends to result in land being vacated once proceedings have been issued.

Demonstrates compliance by us of our obligations and commitment to undertake necessary health and welfare checks and seeks to preclude any subsequent legal challenge in this regard, as we and the Court are public bodies which must determine that its decisions are proportionate.

Why doesn’t the Council use Common Law powers?

Government guidance states that it is good practice to allow some toleration for short periods in locations where the encampment does not have any adverse impact on the settled community. We follow this guidance on each and every unauthorised encampment.  The Government Guidance on Managing Unauthorised Camping (2004) indicates that local authorities should not use their common law powers to evict unauthorised encampments but should, instead, use eviction procedures which involve court action.