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Transit Sites For Travellers An Urgent Need, Says PCC, After Illegal Encampment Moved

Published on: 29 Apr, 2020
Updated on: 1 May, 2020

Travellers at Bellfields Green in 2018

Transit sites for travellers are urgently needed in Surrey, David Munro, the Police and Crime Commissioner, has said after another unauthorised encampment was moved by police order this week.

Under movement restrictions due to the pandemic, officers issued a section 61 notice on Monday ordering travellers to leave a recreation ground in Lightwater after reports of crime and antisocial behaviour.

In March, the PCC made clear he believes the government should make unauthorised traveller encampments a criminal offence, no longer a civil one. That would give police tougher and more effective powers to deal with them.

But transit sites with proper utilities are urgently needed, he said, because although this has been successful in other counties there are none in Surrey.

David Munro

Mr Munro added: “I visited Lightwater and have great sympathy with the plight of the residents I met whose anger and frustration was plain to see at a time when they are already having to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“When we are all trying our hardest to restrict unnecessary movement, having no temporary sites to direct travellers to creates the risk that they could be moving from place to place in our communities which is an entirely unsatisfactory situation for everyone.

“The legislation around unauthorised encampments is complex and there are requirements that must be met so police can take action.

“I believe many of the issues surrounding unauthorised encampments are created by the lack of temporary sites which I have long been calling for in Surrey. Government should take on a greater responsibility by compelling local authorities to provide sites.

“These changes are urgently needed to break the cycle of repeated unauthorised traveller encampments that continue to affect our local communities.”

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Responses to Transit Sites For Travellers An Urgent Need, Says PCC, After Illegal Encampment Moved

  1. Alan Cooper Reply

    April 29, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    I have suggested before why not use the Wisley airfield that is a large and disused site that would certainly house Travellers, even if only for a year or so.

    Well hidden, they would have privacy and at least for now have a base and stop their incessant and unnecessary costs to local councils.

    • Richard Hawkins Reply

      May 1, 2020 at 11:36 am

      I assume Alan Cooper lives nowhere near Wisley airfield.

      I would suggest everyone abide by the standard rules, own or rent land, have valid planning permission and pay council tax.

      This is nothing against wishing to travel or lead a nomadic lifestyle, but the standard rules sets up everyone on a fair playing field without excess costs paid from government and/or communal funds.

  2. John Perkins Reply

    April 30, 2020 at 12:07 am

    Sounds good to me.

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