Travellers face court date over bid to stay in makeshift camp in Eastney

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TRAVELLERS at a beauty spot who have been illegally camped at the site for months have received another stay of execution.

Land in Ferry Road in Eastney has become a bone of contention with visitors and people who work in the area angry about campervans and vehicles making it their home.
Travellers, on the other hand, have claimed they were doing nothing wrong – and have disputed Portsmouth City Council’s authority over the land.

Travellers' campervans and caravans at Ferry Road in Eastney

Travellers' campervans and caravans at Ferry Road in Eastney

But after the council issued legal notices in July to vehicles parked at the site – giving occupiers until the end of August to move out – warnings to vacate have not been heeded by the majority.

It left a group of 11 travellers being summoned to Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court to face an order to be evicted from the land.

But after claiming they have only just received paperwork and, therefore, had no time to get legal representation, the travellers were granted a reprieve after magistrates agreed to adjourn the case until Wednesday, September 26.

Roy Goulding, community safety manager at Portsmouth City Council previously said: ‘We want to work with the individuals in this area to ensure they move on quickly, however failure to comply or engage will mean that we will be forced to pursue the issue through the courts.’

Notices put up at the site stated: ‘If you fail to comply with the direction as soon as practicable or if you enter the land again with a vehicle within the period of three months beginning with the day on which this notice was issued (July 20), you may be committing an offence and are liable to be prosecuted.’

Despite being pleased at seeing action they felt was long overdue, visitors and workers at the site questioned whether the travellers would move on. 

One person, who wished to remain anonymous, said. ‘I think in the end they will have to be towed. They’ve shown they don’t care for months so I would be surprised if they started obeying the law now.’

Another said: ‘This has gone on for so long and the whole area has been ruined by them being here. I’ll believe it when I see it (travellers moving).’

The group eviction was issued against Ryan Balch, Malcolm Bawden, Darren Brown, Paul Fisher, Paul Mills and unknown persons, Luke Rawson, Brian Rayner, Ruth Shakeshaft and Rebecca Stephenson, all of Ferry Road.