Port Solent traveller encampment cost Portsmouth council £1,000 - and the figure is set to rise
RUBBISH left behind at the site of a traveller encampment in Port Solent has cost the council more than £1,000 to clean up – and the cost will rise once gates to the site have been repaired.
A convoy of cars and caravans turned up at the site by Marina Keep late on April 26, with the group gaining entry after the security barriers had been damaged using a disc cutter.
Portsmouth City Council filed an eviction notice and the group was due to appear before Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday, but the travellers moved on earlier that same day.
Now the council is totalling up the cost of restoring the site to its former state, with dozens of full rubbish sacks, children’s toys, and even a large dog cage left strewn across the field.
So far it has cost the local authority more than £1,000 to deal with the four van loads of rubbish left behind – and there will be an additional cost for fixing the broken gate and removing a vehicle that has been cleared from the field.
Last year, a traveller encampment in the same area cost the taxpayer around £13,000 in clearance and repairs.
The recurring problem has left residents ‘fed up’ with reactive measures approach to dealing with traveller encroachments, according to one Port Solent resident who asked not be named.
He said: ‘They ruined the place last time and I couldn't understand why Portsmouth City Council couldn’t put something more substantial in place. They seemed to break in the same way as last time.
‘A lock doesn’t work. Maybe a couple of big boulders would cost less than keep cleaning up when this happens.
‘There's already quite a bit of pressure from residents - it's just whether the council will listen.’
Large boulders have been placed around a section of Southsea Common to deter illegal encampments after the convoy descended on Port Solent.
A spokeswoman from Portsmouth City Council said: ‘We are reviewing the security of the site to see if there are any other preventative measures that we can put in place to deter further unauthorised encampments, which cost us in court fees, security and clean up fees.
‘However the most recent encampment gained access by cutting through a locked gate.’