East Lothian Council

Gypsy Travellers

This topic deals with finding somewhere to live. For a topic which gives general advice on rights and responsibilities for Gypsy Travellers, please go to the topic in our section called 'Help for people in other kinds of housing'. This includes information on:

Local Sites

East Lothian Council, in conjunction with Midlothian Council, operates a site for Gypsy Travellers at Whitecraig (between Musselburgh and Dalkeith). East Lothian Council manages the site on behalf of both authorities. The site handbook gives information about getting a pitch on the site, facilities and management of the site.

Rent and Housing Benefit

Residents living on the Whitecraig site are liable to pay rent and Council Tax. The current pitch charge is £82.88 per fortnight. Council Tax is £33.42 per fortnight. If you have a low income you may be entitled to help to pay your rent.  Site residents have the same eligibility for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit as people in ordinary housing.  More information on how much you may be entitled to and making a claim can be found in the Money and Affording to Stay section.

Bricks and mortar housing

Gypsy Travellers have the same rights of access to housing as other groups.  If you are considering bricks and mortar housing you should look at the topic 'Helping you find somewhere else to live' to find out about the type of housing available in East Lothian.If you are on a low income you may be entitled to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit to help you with housing costs.  More information on how much you may be entitled to and making a claim can be found in the Money and Affording to Stay section.

If you have a disability or medical condition which is made worse by your current accommodation you may be entitled to additional rehousing priority.  This could be, for example, a mobility problem which makes it difficult for you to get in and out of your caravan or access bathroom facilities.  The Council has a Health and Housing assessment form you should complete if you believe a move to Council accommodation would help you.  Housing associations  also give priority to people in the greatest housing need.  The process for applying for a housing association property varies depending on the association.


If you have nowhere to stay (for example, if you do not have anywhere safe to legally park your caravan or mobile home, or if you can no longer live there) you should contact the Council for advice and assistance (please see our Homelessness pages). The Council may have a duty to provide temporary accommodation while your homelessness application is being assessed.  If you are found to be homeless then you may be entitled to temporary accommodation until permanent accommodation is secured. Temporary accommodation does not have to be on a site however the Council may be required to help you to store your caravan for a short period.

If you want to know more about your housing options, click on the link or call 01620 827827 and ask for your Local Housing Office - they will be happy to help

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.