Surrey travellers may have to find new homes as county council decides fate of 17 council-owned sites
Pictured: Illegal traveller sites have persistently been pitched in Elmbridge in recent months
The council is currently responsible for 17 permanent sites, including The Oaks in Woodstock Lane South, Long Ditton, that could be sold to cover council costs after councillors gave the green light for an investigation into three management options.
The sites, which at present cost on average £263,000 per year to maintain, could be managed by an external body, sold to a single purchaser or leased to a single individual, organisation or association, according to papers put to the cabinet on Tuesday, November 24.
However, existing tenancy agreements for pitches will remain in place and tenants’ rights will remain protected if any sites are eventually sold off.
Councillor Denise Le Gal, cabinet member for business services and resident experience, said in the papers: “A review of alternatives could deliver this service more effectively, produce savings and provide an improved experience for site residents.”
The council predicts a further £30,000 a year over eight years could be needed to keep sites at existing levels or if more improvements are needed.
Elmbridge has also seen a rise in unauthorised traveller encampments on council-owned land, which prompted Elmbridge Council to put in place a set of measures, including digging trenches, setting up fences and planting trees in some areas to stop cars and caravans parking on land.