Temporary Stop Over Areas (TSOAs) in County Durham will not be in operation this summer as a result of Government guidance on coronavirus.
Durham County Council usually provides 10 areas across the county as stopovers for people travelling to and from Appleby Horse Fair as well as Gypsies and Travellers who travel as part of their culture and lifestyle.
However, this year, the authority has taken the decision not to open them in line with Government guidance on social distancing and following the decision by the organisers of the fair not to go ahead with this year’s event.
The TSOAs which are located at Binchester Corner, Westerton layby, Gurney Valley, Tindale Park, Wackerfield layby, Broomielaw picnic area, Stainton Bank, Winston Corner, Shaw Bank Field and Guide Post Corner, Bowes, will remain closed until further notice.
Members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are being encouraged not to travel to County Durham during the lockdown period and are being advised that accommodation will not be available at the TSOAs at any point in the near future.
Owen Cleugh, Durham County Council’s public protection manager, said: “We know that many Gypsies and Travellers choose to stop in County Durham during May and June as they head to and from Appleby Fair. Usually, we support this by providing designated TSOAs with facilities such as toilets and water bowers.
However, with the cancellation of this year’s fair and the need for us all to abide by social distancing measures, it would not be appropriate for us to encourage groups to gather in the county by opening our usual TSOAs.
The council is liaising with key partners, including residents at the county’s six permanent Gypsy, Roma, Traveller sites to share information about the decision not to open the TSOAs and general public health messages. It is also warning those from outside the county that it will consider enforcement action against any unauthorised encampments.
For more information, visit www.durham.gov.uk/travellers.