Most people in Devon know very little about Gypsies and Travellers. Negative media coverage has often resulted in harmful stereotyping and increased misunderstanding.

The population of Devon includes a significant number of gypsies and travellers, many of whom have long historical links with this part of the country.

The Devon population of gypsies and travellers is made up mainly of English Romany Gypsies, New Travellers and some Irish Travellers.


Local Authority Traveller Sites

Devon County Council has overall management for the two gypsy and traveller Local Authority Sites in Devon. Residents on both sites pay rent and are responsible for paying Council Tax and utility costs.

You can find out more on the Devon County Council website.


Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Service

Devon County Council operate a dedicated Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Service, who we work closely with. THey provide support and advice to both the settled and travelling community on a broad range of issues, including the management of unauthorised encampments.

You can find out more about the service on the Devon County Council website.


Unauthorised Encampments

Although there are a number of private sites in Devon, there is a serious shortage of sites for gypsies and travellers in Devon and across the UK. This had led to gypsies and travellers camping on land that they do not own (unauthorised encampments) or buying land and developing it without planning permission (unauthorised development). 90% of planning applications submitted by gypsies and travellers fail, which often forces them back onto the road.

When gypsies and travellers camp on land that they do not own, without the permission of the owner, they are trespassing. Private landowners, the police and local authorities all have powers of enforcement to evict. However, in most situations, it is better to negotiate a solution. This avoids confrontation and bad feeling.

We use the same procedure and guidelines as set out in the Devon County Council Icon for pdf Handbook for Managing Unauthorised Encampments [1.42MB] (PDF download).

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact affordable.housing@swdevon.gov.uk.