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Services in Christchurch

Unauthorised encampments

We very rarely know when people are going to set up an encampment and cannot guarantee the security of all of our public areas all of the time.

That’s why we need people to report it if they see one. If you suspect someone might be about to set up an encampment or trying to break into a site, please also let us know.

No one is allowed to set up an encampment on public land in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area without permission. If you see people using caravans / motor homes in any of our parks, gardens or nature reserves you should report it to us at once

If you need to make a report outside of normal working hours you can call 01202 123456.

Frequently asked questions

How do we deal with unauthorised encampments?

We will immediately visit to assess the group and the location, following national legal guidelines

We work with the police to manage the location. We also look at how the encampment will impact the local area.

If the site is likely to have an unacceptable negative impact then we begin repossession proceedings to gain a legal order to remove the encampment.

There are certain specific instances where the police may use discretionary powers to move the camp on immediately.

What legal action can the council take?

Before deciding what legal action we will make an assessment, which includes:

  • The size of the site
  • The group's situation and needs
  • The impact it is having on the site and the local community

If an encampment is causing a problem and we do have to take legal action we follow a set process. We have to:

  • Gather evidence that the group is having a negative impact on the area
  • Apply to the court for a Possession of Land Order
  • Serve the group notice of the Possession Order and tell them when the hearing will take place
  • Obtain a Possession Order from the court
  • Book court bailiffs to evict the group
  • Clean up the site and make it secure once the people have left

The whole process, from start to finish can take between 14 to 21 days.  Each case depends on the individual circumstances, and court or bailiff availability.

What about antisocial behaviour relating to an encampment?

If you see anyone being antisocial or breaking the law, then you must report it to the police straight away, just as you would if you saw anyone committing a crime. This will help the council and the police decide how to deal with the group.

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