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Gypsies and Travellers

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
Borough Hall
Cauldwell Street
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.

Ampthill Road
Kempston Hardwick
Bedford MK45 3NJ

Willow Drift caravan site

Weekly rent for the Willow Drift Caravan site is £80.50 per pitch. There are 14 pitches on site. The site has full amenities.

Meadow Lane
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

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.

Unauthorised Encampments Procedure (PDF)

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:

Gypsy and Travellers Rights 2008 (PDF)

Mobile Homes Act

Further information

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