Council offers expertise on unauthorised encampment sites

Northumberland County Council is offering a service to landowners.
Northumberland County Council is offering a service to landowners.

Landowners who may be experiencing problems with unauthorised encampments are encouraged to call on the expertise of officers at Northumberland County Council.

At this time of year, the county sees an increase in the number of unauthorised traveller and non-traveller sites being established on private land.

For a fixed negotiation charge of £200, Northumberland County Council is now offering support to landowners through its fully rounded, professional service, which would ensure a quick resolution and smooth move-on of the group from the site.

The council has a dedicated liaison officer, who works with traveller and non-traveller communities, who can be called upon to begin negotiations with the group or take up any welfare concerns.

A landowner could also be given support from the council’s legal and public protection teams, should court action be required to remove the encampment.

Coun John Riddle, cabinet member for planning, housing and resilience, said: “Where a landowner may not want to conduct negotiations with an unauthorised encampment themselves, they can approach us to help with the move-on process.

“Our officers have years of experience and knowledge of working with traveller groups and often know the families who travel through the county on a regular basis.

“Landowners are encouraged to take advantage of this expertise to ensure the smooth removal of a group from their land. In most cases there are no issues with these types of encampments, but where a landowner feels they need some extra support the council can help.”

A fee of £200 would be levied to a landowner for officer time in visiting and managing a move-on of the encampment; this would increase to £400 if court preparation papers or attendance at court by an officer was required. Any further costs, such as bailiff costs or exceptional court costs would be agreed with the landowner first.