Planning Enforcement - Unauthorised Encampments

The travelling community can experience difficulties finding an approved place to stay. This means that sometimes they stop on land without permission, including highway verges and lay-bys. This Council’s approach is based on preventing unlawful occupation of land.

Encampments on Council land

Encampments on Council land will result in legal proceedings to evict the travellers. In the case of highway land, such as verges and lay-bys, the matter will be taken up with Staffordshire County Council, which is the local highway authority.

Encampments and Trespassing

Trespassing on land is a civil matter, with prevention of trespass being the responsibility of the landowner. If you experience illegal encampments, you need to seek appropriate legal advice.

Criminal activity associated with encampments

The Police will deal with crime when there is a complaint and evidence to support it. In order to investigate criminal activity, evidence from witnesses must be provided, plus witness agreement to support any subsequent prosecution.

Trespass is not a criminal offence in England: it is a civil matter between landowner and trespasser. As such, the Police don’t tend to get involved unless there is a public nuisance or other criminal activity.

Gypsies and Travellers owning their land

Anyone seeking to develop land is required to get planning permission. Gypsies and Travellers are covered by the requirements of planning law, just like everyone else. Planning authorities can serve stop notices or enforcement notices, or apply for court injunctions that can lead to tough penalties.

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