More traveller sites to lessen illegal camps

CONSULTATION An illegal traveller encampment in Newgate Lane earlier this month. Fareham Borough Council is looking at extending its legal sites
CONSULTATION An illegal traveller encampment in Newgate Lane earlier this month. Fareham Borough Council is looking at extending its legal sites

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A COUNCIL is considering extending its permanent travellers’ sites to keep up with government policy and put it in a stronger position when dealing with illegal encampments.

Fareham Borough Council agreed to a four-week consultation on the matter at its latest executive meeting, and has launched an online survey.

It will be asking residents their views on potentially doubling the size of sites at Newgate Lane, Fareham and Southampton Road, Titchfield.

The council is revisiting the amount of land it provides for travellers under the Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople Policy.

This move will look at the allocation of appropriate permanent sites and proposes five additional pitches across two existing sites.

Research by 11 local councils revealed 60 new plots for travellers need to be made available by 2022.

Residents near both of the sites are worried about the plans.

One Titchfield resident, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I don’t suppose anybody would want more travellers living near them. I don’t think anybody along this road would be happy with an increase.’

In 2009, a petition containing 55 signatures against the development of the Newgate Lane site was handed in to the council.

Ward councillor Jim Forrest encouraged residents to read the policy documents before making their minds up.

He said: ‘When a borough has met the requirement in providing a number of permanent sites, it is then in a stronger position to deal with illegal encampments.’

He said the Newgate Lane site in his ward is well kept and well maintained. Last week, an illegal traveller site which set up home in a private field along Newgate Lane was moved on by police.

The survey can be completed at fareham.gov.uk/consultations.

For more information call 01329 236100. The consultation runs until Monday, July 22.