Anger as more than a dozen caravans set up camp on Milton Common in Portsmouth

AN ARMADA of travellers has illegally set up camp on one of Portsmouth’s beauty spots, sparking concern from residents and politicians.

By Tom Cotterill
Thursday, 29th July 2021, 7:00 pm

About 15 caravans and numerous other vehicles – including quad bikes – have taken over a huge chunk of Milton Common, near the Eastern Road.

Staking their claim to the land, the group of wanderers have already set up kennels and chicken coops and left rubbish strewn across parts of the common.

Officials from Portsmouth City Council’s anti-social behaviour unit have already been scrambled to deal with the latest encampment.

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Travellers pictured at Milton Common on Thursday evening.

But residents living nearby have reacting angrily at the arrival of the travellers and have demanded immediate actions.

Patrick Burke, who lives in Baffins, said the travellers were ‘unwanted guests and a blight on the area’.

The 69-year-old former engineer told The News: ‘They’ve turned the whole area into a tip. They’ve dumped a huge pile of rubbish at the end of the common and there’s faeces on the floor.

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Travellers pictured at Milton Common on Thursday evening.

‘People are zooming around on quad bikes, chickens are roaming free, dogs tied to kennels are yapping at people walking along the paths and vans are being driven across the common all day – it’s awful.’

His partner Susanna Smythe, 61, added: ‘I really wouldn’t mind if they didn’t make a mess. But inevitably there will always be some sort of rubbish that they will leave behind.’

The News understands that Portsmouth City Council is considering what steps to take, having already told the group of travellers they have to leave.

Baffins ward councillor Lynne Stagg, who is the city council’s traffic and transportation boss, said if the group refused to move on, the police would be called in and a court order could be sought.

Travellers pictured at Milton Common on Thursday evening.

The Lib Dem cabinet member said: ‘People are concerned about them. I’ve had more than a dozen people contact me about it.

‘The big problem with travellers coming is the mess that they leave behind, which we then have to pay for.

‘It also just looks awful. We are a seaside city and if you’re coming in and find piles of rubbish all over the place, it’s not nice.’

She added: ‘If this does need a court order then that will cost taxpayers’ money. I don’t want it to come to that. We want to work with people. It’s pointless riling people because that won’t get you anywhere.’

The encampment is the latest to be set up in the area.

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