Court grants order for to evict travellers from Portsmouth's park and ride site
MAGISTRATES have signed off on plans to evict dozens of travellers illegally camped at Portsmouth’s park and ride site for more than a week.
Justices at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court granted the court order to remove about 30 people from the Tipner park and ride centre.
About 19 vehicles, including 10 caravans, overran the site on Monday, September 20 and have been occupying an area of about 50 car parking bays since then.
Despite being served an eviction notice on Wednesday, the group of wanderers are still illegally camped at the land.
Appealing to magistrates to approve a section 78 eviction order, on behalf of Portsmouth City Council, prosecutor Ben Attrill said: ‘This is a council-run car park and is of strategic importance to travel within the city.
‘It’s particularly busy at this time of the year. For example there was a large university event over the weekend which would have seen increased demand.
‘The travellers arrived on the site on September 20, at around 5pm in the evening.
‘Council officers attended the same day at about 7.30pm and undertook welfare checks, asking about welfare needs – looking at housing requirements, educational needs, any particular health implications, so that a proper assessment could be made as to whether it was proportionate to take any action with regards to those on the site.’
Magistrates granted the order, which now gives council the power to forcibly remove the travellers and their vehicles from the park and ride.
Speaking to The News last week, Portsmouth’s transport boss, Councillor Lynne Stagg said the facility was a critical travel hub for the city.
‘The amount of usage (at the park and ride) has been virtually none for the best part of 18 months, so we are very eager to get that back to normal again and get the numbers up,’ she said. ‘Anything that holds that up is detrimental to the future plans for the city centre.’
As previously reported, Portsmouth City Council has drawn up ambitious plans to overhaul the park and ride and create a new ‘gateway’ onto the island.
A new seven-storey transport hub, on the site of the existing Tipner park and ride adjacent to the M275, will be discussed by councillors at the planning committee on Tuesday.
As reported, the scheme will see the existing car parking spaces increase from 650 to 2,650.