Unauthorised campsites

Unauthorised encampment

Update: 15 March 2023

We have taken further action and used the planning enforcement Stop Notice procedure, which requires all occupants to leave the site, while an appeal is being considered, or risk prosecution which might result in a criminal conviction.

As the occupants have not yet left the site, the Council is taking steps to prosecute the occupants for not complying with the Stop Notice.

Update: 19 January 2023

We issued a Stop Notice on 6 January, which was served by planning enforcement officers at the unauthorised caravan site off Tanhouse Road, Oxted. A Stop Notice prevents further development. Two planning enforcement officers visited the site on 18 January and did not see any new development taking place.

On 11 January, we were told by the Planning Inspectorate an appeal against the issue of the Planning Enforcement Notices had been submitted. Once the Planning Inspectorate gives us the appeal start date we will send notification letters to residents living near the site.

12 December 2022

On Saturday 10 December an unauthorised caravan site was set up on a field off Tanhouse Road in Oxted. Several caravans moved onto the site and work immediately began to lay hard surfacing and install drainage to connect to utility supplies.

A council officer and Oxted ward councillors visited the site twice over the weekend. On Sunday 11 December, the Council served a Temporary Stop Notice alleging there had been a breach of planning control on the site. Copies of the notice were fixed to the site. The Temporary Stop Notice remains in place for 28 days, expiring on Sunday 8 January 2023. The notice requires all work to cease.

Reporting unauthorised campsites

Groups of travellers occasionally camp on land in the district with their caravans and vehicles. To report travellers who have camped illegally please complete the unauthorised campsites form.

If the landowner has granted permission for travellers to camp on land, the land may be used for this for up to 28 days without needing planning permission.

If permission has not been given, it is the landowner's responsibility to remove trespassers either through the Courts or by exercising a landlord's Common Law right to evict trespassers.

If the site is on the District Council’s land, we will take appropriate action.

The police have powers to move on travellers if there are six or more caravans.

Any rubbish left behind has to be cleared by the landowner.