Is Durdham Downs becoming a permanent campsite?

What is happening to this beautiful part of Bristol?

The past 5 years has seen a huge increase in the numbers of traveller encampments and semi-permanent van-dwellers on Durdham Downs. Multi-week visitations by travellers have become a regular sight – as has the littering, fly-tipping and extensive anti- social behavior that typically accompanies them. Such is it’s popularity among travellers and van-dwellers, the Downs now features on traveller websites as the ‘go to’ destination in Bristol..! 

Residents who live near the Downs and the many people of Bristol and beyond who regularly use them have become fed up with Bristol City Council’s apparent tolerance of this beautiful area being used as a long term campsite. Things will only get worse if this is allowed to continue and urgent action needs to be taken to restore the Downs to it’s intended use. 

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‘Respect The Downs’ exists to achieve this goal. By supporting us, you can help force Bristol City Council to adopt measures that will ensure a robust and rapid response to the Downs being abused in this way.

Nationally, this issue is gaining increasing attention and on 3rd November 2019, the Government launched a consultation on proposals to give police new powers to arrest and seize the property and vehicles of trespassers who set up unauthorised caravan sites.

Currently such trespassing is defined in law as a civil matter. But the Home Office is consulting on making it a criminal offence.

Then Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

‘Unauthorised encampments can cause misery to those who live nearby, with reports of damage to property, noise, abuse and littering.”

”The public want their communities protected and for the police to crack down on trespassers.”

“Our proposals aim to ensure these encampments can be challenged and removed as quickly as possible.”

Please take a moment to read through this website and help us restore the Downs to it’s intended use.