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Unauthorised developments and encampments

An unauthorised development is where any person has developed an area of land for residential use but without planning permission. Unauthorised developments will be dealt with by the council's planning enforcement team who can be contacted by telephone on 01744 676179 or email via

Unauthorised encampments

What is an unauthorised encampment?

An unauthorised encampment is where any person camps on land they do not own. The Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officer will work alongside partner agencies including the local police to effectively manage unauthorised encampments while upholding the rights of both the Gypsy Traveller community and the settled community.

Are the welfare needs of the encampment taken into account?

For any unauthorised encampments, the council will complete assessments for health, welfare and education needs of the encampment occupants; this is carried out by the Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officer and also the local police.

What is the council's process?

The council cannot immediately move on unauthorised encampments from land within its ownership, as a formal legal process needs to be followed, including establishing who is the legal owner of the land, following Sections 77/78 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Some encampments only wish to stay for a few days and vacate the land before the legal process in completed. In certain circumstances, the council may agree with other agencies to tolerate an encampment for a longer period of time.

The length of stay in which the encampment stays depends on the individual circumstances. If the encampment requires a court order, the process can take 7 to 10 days, which is dictated by legal requirements and cannot be shortened.

What if the land is not council owned?

The council needs written consent from the landowner to carry out the legal process as above. The responsibility is with the landowner to take the necessary steps. However, the council will work alongside the landowner and this will include carrying out a welfare assessment.