Travellers move to Havant park - as council considers digging ditches to protect public spaces

TRAVELLERS who were camped in Waterlooville and Bedhampton earlier this week have set up in Havant, with frustrated councillors considering ditches as a way to stop illegal sites.

Friday, 19th July 2019, 9:18 pm
Updated Friday, 19th July 2019, 11:56 pm
Travellers moving into the recreation ground by Bartons Road, Havant. Picture: Dave Haines

More than six caravans and several vans have appeared in the recreation ground by Barton’s Road, Havant. 

The travellers had arrived at Jubilee Park, Waterlooville, on Wednesday July 10, before moving on to Hook’s Lane Recreation Park in Bedhampton on Monday July 15. 

Councillor Narinder Bains, cabinet lead for neighbourhoods at Havant Borough Council, said the borough had been ‘inundated’ with travellers this year. 

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She said: ‘We generally know about them within five minutes of them landing on a site. 

‘We have looked into getting a borough-wide order - but under current legislation, it’s not a feasible option.’

The council is looking at more enhanced measures than ‘locks and barriers’ to stop illegal camps, according to Cllr Bains. 

She said: ‘Evidence shows that locks and barriers do not actually work all the time. 

‘We’re looking to target-harden areas that have been targeted. 

‘This may mean ditches around certain areas - we know that several councils have dug trenches to prevent encampments.’

Havant Borough Council officers have visited the camp and issued a notice requiring the group to vacate - with the authority ready to obtain a court order to repossess the area if needed. 

A traveller who spoke to The News at the Bedhampton site said they were being ‘pushed from pillar to post.’ 

He said: ‘Most people keep themselves to themselves.

‘But we’re not getting any peace.

‘Everywhere we go we’re getting pushed from pillar to post.’

There had been ‘a number of reports of anti-social behaviour linked to the site’ in Jubilee Park, according to a police spokesman. 

Residents reported rocks being thrown at Poppins Nursery near to the park.

A young mother who takes her three year old to the nursery said people had to ‘dodge’ men riding motorcycles in the park.

She said: ‘It helps paint the traveller community in a bad light – travellers are very nice people.’

A police are aware of the Havant site and are working with the council, according to a police spokeswoman.