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Views wanted on proposal for new transit Gypsy, Roma and Traveller site

Today marks the start of community engagement for a pre-planning application proposal for a new Gypsy, Roma and Traveller transit site in Tandridge.

Surrey County Council has been working closely with Surrey Police, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPPC) and district and borough councils to meet Gypsy, Roma and Traveller needs and to reduce the impact of unauthorised encampments across the county. This proposal, to create ten short-term stay accommodation pitches on land adjacent to the permanent Gypsy, Roma and Traveller site at Pendell Camp, Merstham Road in Tandridge, is a key part of the joint strategy.

Transit sites provide temporary refuge for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families, some of whom travel around the UK sourcing seasonal work opportunities. Pre-booking is available, and residents can stay for up to four weeks.  There isn’t currently any transit provision for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers anywhere in Surrey, and this development would be the county’s first, marking a significant step forward in addressing their community’s housing needs.

The local community is being asked for their views on the draft proposal ahead of the formal planning application. Comments will be considered and reflected in the application when it is submitted to Surrey County Council in Autumn 2021.

Natalie Bramhall, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Property said, “We want to reduce the number of unauthorised encampments across Surrey which often cause significant disruption, environmental damage and cost to communities and landowners, whilst also putting a strain on police resources.  In order to reduce the occurrence of these encampments, we need to provide temporary accommodation for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community as they travel through our county to assist the Police to be able to act in these circumstances. 

“Experience in neighbouring counties shows that the provision of transit sites significantly reduces the number of unauthorised encampments.

“We’re encouraging residents to give us their views – both now, before the planning application is made, and during the statutory consultation period in the autumn.”

More information and the consultation survey is available here until 08 October 2021: https://www.surreysays.co.uk/iai/pendell-camp-merstham-road-proposal/

Surrey County Council has been working closely with specialist planning and design consultants and other stakeholders, developing a masterplan for the new site that focuses on key environmental matters (considering the site’s location in the Green Belt and Surrey Hill Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), proposed access arrangements, safety and security, and effective site management.

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