Temporary Stop Over Areas
Information about Temporary Stop Over Areas (TSOAs) in the county, and when they will be open.
What is a Temporary Stop Over Area
A Temporary Stop Over Area, (TSOA) is land which we use on a temporary basis if unauthorised encampments occur, or are likely to occur on other, unsuitable areas nearby. TSOAs can be fields, areas of hard-standing, or a mixture of both. The land might belong to us or a private land owner (who has given us permission) for it to be used as a TSOA.
When we use TSOAs
We only use TSOAs when we need to. TSOAs are not the same as permanent sites for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers (where people have a permanent home), or a transit site, (which might include some more permanent facilities, such as an electricity supply).
We will open a TSOA and agree with those encamped, about how long they will use the area for. For example, if we agree to use a TSOA for one week, we will close and secure it once the encampment has left - after that week.
Sometimes we use TSOAs more than once and may re-open it at a future date (if required). Encampments usually take place between Spring and Autumn, and some TSOAs are opened on specific dates where we anticipate that they'll be needed. For example we open TSOAs in Teesdale in time for the Appleby Fair.
We review the timescale, and use of each TSOA over time as circumstances change. When not in use, TSOAs are closed securely.
We only provide facilities when the TSOA is in use. When we agree to the use of a TSOA, we will provide portable toilets and regular bin collections - on the site, for the agreed time that the site is in use.
Staying at a TSOA
We manage several TSOAs in County Durham. Our Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Service and Neighbourhood Warden Service regularly visit these sites, along with other agencies. We give everyone who encamps at a TSOA our. This lists the behaviour we expect for anyone using TSOAs. We also discuss the information in the guidance with those encamped.
We record and take photos of the condition of all TSOAs as soon as we open up an area and we check it regularly while in use. If the area is misused. we'll no longer support a stay for those individuals involved, and will consider taking action to evict, by issuing Directions to Leave.
There is no evidence to suggest that TSOA's increase anti-social behaviour, or crime in an area.
How many people can use a TSOA
The number of people depends on individual encampments. We cannot always predict when an unauthorised encampment will occur, or what size they might be. Some encampments are very small, (a single family), and others may be larger, (extended households or groups).
We do not give permission for more trailers or caravans to use a TSOA than it is able to accommodate.