​​​Information about Gypsies and Travellers living in Merton, and caravan site provisions.


Gypsies and Travellers in Merton

Merton has been a traditional stopping place for hundreds of years for Gypsy Traveller communities, as they travelled the country bringing goods to sell and working in the area. Families came to pick watercress and lavender, some stayed and settled in the area in houses.

Census 2011 showed 217 Merton residents identifying themselves as Gypsies and Travellers, although many organisations working with the community believe the true number to be higher. In Merton there is a predominantly English Gypsy Traveller community, with a small community of Irish heritage Traveller families and Eastern European Roma. Some estimates show that up to one third of the population of Mitcham may have Romany heritage.

They mostly live in housing, with a small number of households living on the Local Authority owned permanent Caravan Site. Occasionally, highly mobile Traveller families temporarily stop in the borough, and Fairground and Circus families also come to work and provide entertainment here. Merton schools also cater for a number of Traveller children and young people from neighbouring boroughs.

Authorised site

In Merton there is one permanent site made up of 15 caravan pitches. This site is owned by Merton Council and is managed by Merton Priory Homes under a Service Level Agreement for the council.

You can make enquiries about vacant plots on site or how to get on the waiting list by contacting the Housing Strategy Team on Tel: 020 8545 3685 or 020 8545 3619

or Email: housingstrategy@merton.gov.uk

Unauthorised encampments

There are sometimes incidents of unauthorised encampments in the borough. This is where land is occupied without the landowner's consent. It is the responsibility of the landowner to evict. The Travellers Unauthorised Encampment Protocol sets out how we deal with unauthorised encampments in Merton.

Gypsy and Traveller strategy

We are developing a Gypsy and Traveller strategy in partnership with different local authority departments, voluntary agencies, other public bodies and also the gypsy and traveller community across the borough. The purpose of the strategy is to identify and address the needs and requirements of Gypsies and Travellers within Merton, and to set out actions to be taken by all partner agencies for the community. The strategy covers planning, housing, health, education, as well as cultural issues.

Contact us

Housing Strategy
3rd Floor
Civic Centre

Telephone: 020 8545 3619
Email: housingstrategy@merton.gov.uk