Travellers on Southsea Common ordered to leave

TRAVELLERS have been ordered to leave Southsea Common after taking part in ‘Wacky Races’ style driving.

Shocked onlookers who saw the 12-strong convoy pitch up on Friday evening said travellers drove around Southsea Common, near Blue Reef Aquarium, late at night while people were still enjoying the site.

Travellers have set up on Southsea Common

Travellers have set up on Southsea Common

Portsmouth City Council officials have already issued people with notices to quit.

John Palmer, who snapped the group, said: ‘It was like Wacky Races driving down the footpaths then over the Avenue De Caen across the pitch and putt and then on to the common.

‘As soon as they got there they unhitched their caravans, then a load more arrived.’

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said if they are not gone by today, the authority will go to court to seek an order to remove them from the land.

Portsmouth City Council officials meet with travellers at Southsea Common on Friday July 27. Picture: John Palmer

Portsmouth City Council officials meet with travellers at Southsea Common on Friday July 27. Picture: John Palmer

‘It’s not often people go on to the common,’ he said.

‘We have to be really vigilant and it means looking to see where and how people got on, and making sure that the council goes and stops those access points, which we’ve successfully done all around the city to restrict places where people feel they can go and camp where they want.’

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said rocks had been put in place at the land off Pembroke Road following travellers being turfed off the site. It is hoped that will deter people from the site.

Jordan Boon, 31, spotted the travellers driving around the common in the dark.

Travellers

Travellers

He said: ‘It was quite dangerous, they were driving around the common with hazard lights on.

‘There were still people on there having barbecues.

‘You couldn’t see them in the dark.

‘Every now and then you’d see headlights going on.

‘They were driving around on the road up and down the seafront and back.

‘They’re menaces.’

A council van was seen paying a visit to the owner of a caravan when The News visited the common on Saturday.

Locals remained concerned about the eyesore.

One person, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘It just makes the whole place look so untidy.’

Another added: ‘It’s the same old story isn’t it? They turn up and nobody can get rid of them for months and we all foot the bill which will costs thousands.

‘The council will issue notices but will they listen?

‘It’s just such a difficult job to get them to move on.

‘It’s a real shame they can just turn up like this and ruin the beauty of the common in the middle of the summer like this.’

Southsea Common is not the only place where locals have been left fuming over the presence of travellers, with Ferry Road in Eastney proving to be another bone of contention for people.

Visitors and those who work by the beauty spot have been incensed at people in campervans living permanently at the location.

Notices have now been issued by the council.