Fight goes on to evict travellers as caravans arrive at second Havant site

CAMPED Travellers on a field next to Barncroft Way in Leigh Park
CAMPED Travellers on a field next to Barncroft Way in Leigh Park
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TRAVELLERS have moved on to second site in Havant – meaning more taxpayers’ money will be spent on evicting them.

Twelve new caravans moved on to a public land next to the Hermitage Stream, off Barncroft Way, Bedhampton on Sunday night.

It brings the number of illegal encampments in the borough to two following legal action by Havant Borough Council to move four caravans from Bitterne Park last week.

That group moved on to private land in Fulflood Road, off Dunsbury Way, Leigh Park, on Thursday.

The illegal encampment at Bitterne Park last week cost the council around £1,000 to deal with.

Legal action to remove travellers from the encampment cost £350, bailiffs cost £200 and it was £100 to clear up their mess. Installing bollards to stop travellers getting back on cost £250.

People living close to the latest site say they hope the council can act quickly to move them on.

One elderly lady, who did not want to be named, said: ‘My neighbours contacted me about tea-time on Sunday after they watched them driving in from Barncroft Way from their window.

‘I believe they have worked their way all the way from Gosport, Fareham, Portsmouth and now they are here. We had them on that land last year and, really, there’s nothing the council can do to stop them.

‘I’ve got to give credit to the police and Havant Borough Council, they don’t hold back. They try and get them off as quickly as possible so hopefully they will be gone soon.

‘The problem is that is the start of a lovely walk along Hermitage Stream. It’s really popular with walkers and dog walkers but obviously now people don’t want to go there.

‘It’s intimidating. There should be designated sites for them to go but, then again, where would the sites be?’

Council leader Tony Briggs, said: ‘Since we’ve had a change of government the whole issue of transit sites is up for discussion as to whether to supply it as an individual local authority or across authorities. It’s still very unclear the direction the government is going on that.

‘The great difficulty with transit sites is finding a site that’s acceptable to all sorts of people. It’s a very emotive subject but it’s clear if there was a transit site it would make life a little easier to move them on.’

Cllr Briggs said it was frustrating having to bear the costs involved. He added: ‘It’s not only the costs that are frustrating but the environmental damage that they cause, especially in this wet weather.

‘The land is getting churned up and has to be reinstated. If we’re not able to get the costs off the travellers it falls to the tax payer.’

A spokeswoman for the council said the travellers’ needs have been assessed – as the council is obliged to do – and legal proceedings are under way.