Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have a long established history as part of our community in County Durham. The Public Sector Equality Duty requires the council to advance race equality, eliminate discrimination and foster good relations.
We have six permanent sites in County Durham:
Gurney Valley, Bishop Auckland is open now until the autumn (September / October 2017).
We manage all unauthorised encampments on our land in County Durham. This involves:
The following will be put in place:
Any agreed length of stay will be dependent on campers adhering to our Code of Conduct for unauthorised encampments. We comply with Government guidance and the legislative framework when managing unauthorised encampments that occur on our land.
We have an Unauthorised Encampment Procedure (PDF, 131kb) in place for the management of unauthorised encampments.
We have established Encampment Review Group (ERG) meetings as part of its approach to managing unauthorised encampments. ERG meetings are called to advise and decide on the course of action where any unauthorised encampment is a cause for concern. The ERG consists of councillors, our staff and key partners such as the Police, and health services. The group works in accordance with the Communities and Local Government Guidance on managing anti-social behaviour related to Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.
When an unauthorised encampment occurs on private land it is presumed that it will be the responsibility of the landowner to decide how they want to manage the encampment. Where we receive a report of an unauthorised encampment on private land, we will endeavour to establish who the private landowner is; give information about the date of arrival and number of caravans; and advise the private landowner of their responsibilities and what powers they have. Support material for unauthorised encampments on private and council owned land (PDF, 81kb) provides further information.