Gypsy/Travellers - rights and responsibilities

Gypsy/Travellers COVID-19 response

Updated 14 October 2021

Latest update for the Selkirk community on the current situation about the presence of a small number of Gypsy/Travellers in the town and our role.

We understand the community may have questions and concerns about this situation and hope the following information is helpful.

Current position 

We are guided by the Scottish Government framework and guidance to support Gypsy/Traveller families during COVID-19. 

We recognise that there has been a change to the wider COVID-19 response level, and a relaxation of some of the previous restrictions, it's important remember the guidance from Scottish Government relating to the support to these families remains in place. There is no change to the services we are expected to provide to Gypsy/Traveller families at this time.

We have contacted Scottish Government again to ask about the progression of any new guidance and have been advised that it is due soon. When these revisions are received, we will review the current provision and provide updates to our communities. In the meantime, the arrangements that still require to be in plac are:

  • provision of shower, toilets and sanitation facilities
  • provision of waste facilities, appropriate waste bins to be provided and our Neighbourhood Services team to undertake weekly litter-picks and refuse collection
  • the Gypsy/Traveller Liaison Officer to be actively involved in the management of the situation including use of the good neighbour code to liaise regularly with the Gypsy/Traveller families, anyone with concerns or queries can email [email protected]
  • the Community Action Team and local Police to respond proactively to concerns identified and reported to them, anyone who witnesses an act of antisocial behaviour or criminality can report these to Police Scotland by:
    • phone: 101 (non-emergencies) or 999 (in an emergency)
    • online 

Provision of a suitable site for Gypsy/Traveller families

It has been challenging to identify a suitable site for a temporary encampment which complements the site at Innerleithen (which has been at full capacity for some time). A short term provision in another town has led to an issue with the land which now requires further investigation. There is no alternative but for us to place the Gypsy/Traveller families back onto the site at Victoria Park on an interim basis, but with some important conditions:

  • the Gypsy/Travellers will be paying a fee for their stay
  • there will be management oversight from Live Borders during their stay
  • there will be an occupancy agreement with clear boundaries established and monitored
  • there will be clear demarcation between the site and adjacent playing fields

These arrangements will be in place to allow us to progress with the identification of a more permanent solution which will be discussed at the next Council meeting.

We appreciate that this is challenging and ask all communities for their tolerance and respect for each other.

More information

We will continue to provide updates as plans progress but in the meantime, the support and co-operation of the Selkirkshire community in particular is greatly appreciated.

If you have any more questions, email [email protected]