There are a range of services available to Gypsy and Traveller communities located within the county or passing through, including access to education and clear guidance on unauthorised encampments. Please see Essex County Council's website for more information (see useful links area on this page).
There are no authorised gypsy sites in the Tendring district managed by us and unauthorised incursions do arise from time to time in the area.
To tackle this we need to ensure adequate site provision is made within our development plans and use the enforcement powers available to deal with unauthorised developments and encampments.
If you have any enquiries relating to planning issues, proposed gypsy site developments or the Council's Development Plan, please see our Planning pages.
What Happens When An Unauthorised Gypsy/Traveller Incursion Happens
Publicly Owned Land -
Tendring District Council is a member of the Essex Countywide Traveller Unit (ECTU), a specialist unit run by Essex County Council to manage unauthorised encampments and undertake the legal processes to gain back possession of publicly owned land. This process has to be undertaken in a organised way and it is not possible for the Council to evict a group as soon as they arrive.
- When an incursion has been reported to the Council, ECTU are made aware and visit the site to obtain details and undertake welfare checks. This visit usually takes place within one working day after the unit are made aware. Following the visit the formal notice (Direction to Leave) is served on the encampment - it usually takes a day to draw up this notice and serve it on the group.
- The Direction to Leave gives the encampment 24 hours to leave the site. If a group fails to move on then the next step is to obtain a Court Order. ECTU will make an appointment with the County Court and a summons will be served on the group. It can be several days until the court hearing.
- If the encampment has not moved on by the court date then an order will be sought from the court. Failure to comply with the order can result in vehicle being removed by court appointed bailiffs onto the roadside. An eviction such as this is a last resort but will be undertaken if necessary. Usually an encampment will have departed before proceedings get to this point, which is normally 7 to 10 days.
Officers from the Council monitor each encampment from the time that it arrives until the point it ends. Often the site will require cleaning after the group leaves and we aim to do this as quickly as possible. All encampments are encouraged to comply with the gypsy and traveller code and those that do not may be subject to more rigorous enforcement. Part of the role of ECTU is to educate and encourage travellers to comply with the code.
Privately Owned Land -
Where an incursion occurs on privately owned land the landowner will have to take action to evict the group themselves. In many cases this can be undertaken fairly quickly.
It is possible to apply for an injunction to prevent unauthorised encampments on specified areas of public land. Injunctions are expensive to obtain and must be justified based on evidence of past problems and disruption caused. The Council currently has an injunction in place preventing unauthorised encampments on the Naze at Walton. This injunction runs until October 2016 and was sought jointly with Essex Wildlife Trust to protect the Naze whilst the new visitor centre was being constructed. Annually the Council applies for an injunction to cover a week long period both before and after the Clacton Airshow. Prior to obtaining the injunction there had been some disruption to the Airshow preparations as a result of unauthorised encampments in seafront areas. This could have had significant financial and safety implications for such a major tourism event.
The area does not experience a high enough level of encampments that would justify an application for a year round injunction and such an injunction if sought could only be for a limited time period. If you would like further information/clarification concerning the above or wish to report a new unauthorised incursion pleas contact:
Tendring District Council: Administration Team, Operational Services, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton on Sea, Essex CO15 1SE. Tel: 01255 686617 (out of hours Careline 01255 222022)
Essex Countywide Traveller Unit, Essex County Council, County Hall, Market Road, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1QH Tel: 03457 430 430 Email: ECTU@essex.gov.uk
Essex Police, Duty Officer, Police Station, 8 Beatrice Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex CO15 1ET
Tel: 0300 333 4444
Please note that the Council usually becomes aware of an encampment fairly soon after it arrives and often experience a significant volume of calls. We aim to issue press releases with updates on what we are doing about an encampment so everyone is kept up to date and does not need to contact us for information.