How we approach some of the issues arising from rough sleeping

Encampments and byelaws in parks and public spaces

Regardless of who owns the land, we still have a duty to investigate statutory nuisances. These include encampments without access to sanitation.

We always try to engage with rough sleepers wherever they are and whether they are in tents or not. This includes advising them on how they can access accommodation and other support services. We encourage private landowners to do the same.

In a number of cases, we have removed tents that were no longer being used as sleep sites and that were being used as somewhere to take class A drugs. We have done this where a tent does not contain bedding and there are sharps inside or in the immediate area. We will also remove tents that have been left in clearly abandoned encampments.

Where rough sleepers camp on private land, we don’t require landowners to evict them. It is a landowner’s responsibility to take action against unauthorised camping.

Byelaws in parks and public spaces

In line with much of England, byelaws ban the pitching of tents in Oxford except in approved campsites. Landowners need a licence to operate a permanent campsite, and campsites must include access to sanitation.

If rough sleepers are camping on public parks and open spaces that we manage, we inform them that they need to move on and how to access local support services. If they do not, we can issue abatement notices which give us the power to lift and store possessions, including tents.