Fareham council leader calls for ban of unauthorised travellers’ sites

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THE leader of Fareham Borough Council has asked the Prime Minister to pass a law against unauthorised traveller sites.

Councillor Sean Woodward requested in a letter that the offence be made illegal unless prior consent from land owners is agreed.

Cllr Woodward said the move is a result of recent incidents where the council was forced to evict travellers only to discover they had simply moved to another area in the district.

He said: ‘This causes disruption to local residents who may have events planned, for example on recreation grounds, and frustration and concern in the way that such unauthorised encampments have to be dealt with.

‘The process is costly, time consuming and in the eyes of the local community ineffective.

‘The public also find such invasions threatening and intimidating and feel unable to go about their normal business on public land including children’s playgrounds.’

Although the council has powers to challenge settlers – under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act – it is not a criminal offence for travellers to occupy land owned by others.

An offence is only committed if they then fail to meet the regulations set out in the Act once living on the site.

The council decided to write the letter asking for new legislation at its last meeting on Thursday after another invasion of its land by travellers.