There are around 16,000 Gypsy and Traveller caravans in England. Around three quarters of these caravans are on ‘authorised’ sites. Many of these sites are well-managed and are an accepted part of the local community.
In 1994 the duty on local authorities was removed and since then under-provision has resulted in Gypsies and Travellers camping on land that they do not own, known as ‘unauthorised encampments’.
In recent years Bedford has seen an increase in the number of Gypsy and Traveller families that have entered the Borough, who stay on green areas, parks and other places of interest. Such unauthorised encampments can have a dramatic impact on the day-to-day lives of our local residents and neighbours.
On the 1st of January 2009, a Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officer was appointed, as part of a ten point plan to reduce unauthorised encampments within the Borough.
Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officer
Working as a member of the Housing Team, the GTLO has a number of priorities and functions, providing an essential service not only to the citizens of Bedford, but also the families of the settled Gypsy and Traveller communities.
When an unauthorised encampment is established, the GTLO will carry out a tactical assessment of the situation, liaise with partner agencies and will notify our neighbours of the encampment. Updates will also be given when a situation changes.
In terms of other duties, the GTLO has the overall responsibility for the management function of the Bedford Borough Council owned; Kempston Hardwick and Willow Drift Caravan Sites.
Bedford Borough Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officer contact details:
Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officer
Bedford Borough Council
Bedford MK42 9AP
Tel: 01234 267422
Gypsies and Traveller caravan sites
Kempston Hardwick caravan site
Weekly rent for the Kempston Hardwick Caravan site is £80.50 per pitch. There are 22 pitches on site. The site has full amenities.
Bedford MK45 3NJ
Willow Drift caravan site
Bedford MK44 3SB
Permanent caravan site application form
To apply for a permanent caravan site, please complete Permanent Caravan Site application form (PDF). It can be filled in on line and emailed to the Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officer. Or you can print it off, fill it in and post it to the Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officer.
The form can also be hand delivered to Borough Hall or the office at the Kempston Hardwick site. Alternatively, if you are unable to do this, please call the Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officer and he will post a form to you.
Fire safety in caravans
Did you know that on average 500 fires per year occur in caravans? Find out how to keep your family safe from fire by reading Fire Safety for Gypsies and Travellers (PDF).
For more information on general fire safety visit www.facebook.com/firekills
Unauthorised encampments frequently asked questions
For Frequently Asked Questions regarding Unauthorised Encampments please click on the link below to access this document. Please note the FAQs section of this document is currently undergoing updates.
The flow chart outlines the process Bedford Borough Council undergoes on being alerted of an Unauthorised Encampment.
Please note this document may be revised after the Gypsy and Traveller Operational Policy has been consulted on, see above.
To access the Unauthorised Encampments procedure, please click on the link to the document below.
To access just the summary of the process, please see this Flow chart (PDF)
Bedford Borough Council complaints procedures
To make a complaint please see our complaints procedures
Gypsy and Traveller management policy
View the Gypsy and Traveller Management Policy (PDF) on unauthorised encampments.
Gypsy and Travellers rights
To view the document on Gypsy and Traveller rights, please click on the link below:
Mobile Homes Act
- Mobile Homes Act 1983 (PDF)
- In the Matter of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (PDF)
- Mobile Homes Act 1983 Tenancy Agreement (PDF)
- Go to planning for traveller sites for information about the planning policy for Traveller site.
- National Association of Gypsy and Traveller Officers
- POhWER is a charity and membership organisation, which provides information, advice, support and advocacy to people who experience disability, vulnerability, distress and social exclusion.
- Bedford environmental services include street care, waste management, sustainability, planning, historic buildings, tree management, landscape and nature conservation, environmental health and trading standards, as well as recreation in the countryside. View the Environment and Sustainability Communities Enforcement Policy (PDF).
- To access the Bedford Borough Council environment services web pages, please got to: Bedford Borough Council Environment web pages.
- Pear Tree Children's Centre, Covering Kempston South and Wootton wards, Balliol Lower School, Balliol Road, Kempston, Bedford, MK42 7ER, Tel: (01234) 303457 or email@example.com
- Advice and consultancy for all Gypsies, Travellers and Roma is available at the Friends, Families and Travellers website.