Unauthorised encampments

Nomadic life is not illegal, and Gypsy, Roma, travellers have a basic right to this way of life. It's the aim of Elmbridge Borough Council to ensure all its residents, whether living in settled or transitory communities, are treated equally and with respect. We also recognise that this has to be balanced with the rights of the general public to enjoy private and public land.

Unauthorised encampments 

We are obliged to manage unauthorised encampments within the Borough on Council owned land. It is not always possible to stop all access to Council owned land and from time to time unauthorised encampments are established.

The Council and Surrey Police have agreed a protocol so that policy and clear lines of responsibility are in place.
This protocol sets out the overall approach in Elmbridge by Elmbridge Borough Council.

Management of unauthorised Gypsy, Roma, Traveller (GRT) encampments

Information on anti-social behaviour

Anti-social behaviour takes in a range of nuisances, disorder and crimes which affects people’s lives on a daily basis. The Home Office describes anti-social behaviour as, ‘any aggressive, intimidating or destructive activity that damages or destroys another person’s quality of life’.

Report anti-social behaviour associated with an unauthorised encampment

Information on reported encampments 

Monday 25 June - Leg O'Mutton Field, Cobham

We have received a report of an unauthorised encampment at the Leg O’Mutton Field, Cobham.  The Council’s Gypsy, Roma Traveller Liaison Officer will shortly be carrying out an assessment required under the legal protocol for dealing with unauthorised encampments.

  • The Council will then assess whether to serve them with a Notice of Direction to leave under Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

  • If they do not leave in compliance with this Notice, the Council will seek a removal order from the Magistrates Court.

  • Further updates will be made after this time.

  • The process usually takes  on average between 7 to 10 days

  • In most instances, the issues arising from the encampment for the community are minimal Surrey Police have been made aware of the encampment and will be monitoring regularly.

Friday 22 June - Oatlands Recreation Ground  

Following a report of an unauthorised encampment at Oatlands Recreation Group, on 20 June, the Council’s Gypsy Roma Traveller Liaison Officer has visited the  site to carry out an assessment required under the legal protocol for dealing with unauthorised encampments.

  • Today we will be serving them with a Notice of direction to leave by Friday 22 June 2018 under Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

  • If they do not leave in compliance with this Notice, the Council will seek a removal order from the Magistrates Court.

  • Further updates will be made after this time.

  • The process usually takes on average between 7 to 10 days from the initial encampment.

  • In most instances, the issues arising from the encampment for the community are minimal Surrey Police have been made aware of the encampment and will be monitoring regularly.     

Other information

Find out about permanent Gypsy, Roma, Traveller sites in Surrey

Private land owners are responsible for the removal of unauthorised encampments on their land. 


Unauthorised moorings in the Borough  

The Council is aware of an increase in boats moored without permission at Cigarette Island (opposite Hampton Court Palace). Within the Public Right of Navigation there is deemed a right for boat owners to stop on land, subject to the necessary landowners consent, for a reasonable period. The Borough follows the Environment Agency’s policy that 24 hours is considered a reasonable time within normal navigation.

  • The boats previously moored at Cigarette Island (opposite Hampton Court Palace) were served with notices to leave, but, as these were not adhered to, the Council sought a court hearing date to seek possession of Elmbridge owned land.
  • Most of these boats have now subsequently left the land
  • During the second Court hearing on 5 June 2018 at Kingston County Court, the owner of the large vessels has agreed to provide an undertaking to the Court not  to moor any vessel owned or controlled by him at or adjacent to Cigarette Island
  • The one remaining large boat is currently aground, which the owner is required to remove by 23 June 2018.The Council will be monitoring the position to ensure this undertaking is complied with.
  • The Council continues to work with the Environment Agency to find a long term solution to unauthorised moorings

Find out about unauthorised moorings in the Borough

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