Figures show rise in illegal traveller encampments in Basingstoke and Deane

ILLEGAL traveller encampments in Basingstoke and Deane are becoming more frequent, figures show.

In 2012, there were 72 illegal traveller/gypsy sites in the borough, which is an increase from 55 in 2011 and 53 in 2010.

The figures, released to The Gazette by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, also showed where the illegal encampments took place across the borough in 2012.

The electoral ward of Norden, which includes Houndmills, Oakridge and South View, had the most encampments with 21. This was nearly double the second highest amount, which was Chineham with 12.

Councillor George Hood, who represents Norden on the borough council, said popular traveller sites were in the playing fields in Upper Sherborne Road, Oakridge and in Hamilton Close, Houndmills.

He said: “The figures do surprise me but it can be one of those things that can build up quite quickly.

“We do get calls from residents who are concerned that areas are being blocked off by the camps, and that the site in Upper Sherborne Road is quite close to a school.”

Some wards, such as Popley East and West, Rooksdown and Tadley Central, had just one encampment in 2012, while others, such as Overton, Laverstoke and Steventon, and Whitchurch, had none at all.

Of the encampments in 2012, 32 occurred on land owned by Hampshire County Council, while 28 took place on private land. Just eight occurred on borough council-owned land, and four were on other sites.

If an illegal encampment is on borough council land, the local authority has the power to evict the travellers, but has to comply with human rights procedures, such as welfare checks, before doing so.

Councillor Robert Donnell, Cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: “We have seen a small increase in the number of local resident caravans in the borough, but in general the increase in the number of encampments over the past three years is as a result of moving the travellers on quicker and, on occasions, of one family occupying more than one site at a time.

“We recognise the concerns that unauthorised encampments can give rise to and we work closely with the police and other agencies to ensure travellers who are illegally camped are moved on as quickly as possible.”

Cllr Donnell added that officers had recently conducted an area assessment into how many traveller pitches might need to be provided in the borough.

Comments (4)

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10:58pm Thu 21 Mar 13

Pacifier says...

Can I save Cllr Donnell the trouble...we don't want any sites in the town, unless we are going to charge them a commercial rent to defray the costs residents pay to clear up afterwards..theyre not welcome here
Can I save Cllr Donnell the trouble...we don't want any sites in the town, unless we are going to charge them a commercial rent to defray the costs residents pay to clear up afterwards..theyre not welcome here Pacifier
  • Score: 0

5:27pm Fri 22 Mar 13

yorkey2 says...

There are "travellers" in Crockford Lane more often now.The mess they leave behind is unbelievable.Why can't they be charged to have a skip for their rubbish? The Council is flapping on about fly-tipping but won't touch them because it is frightened of the traveller's "rights"
There are ponies grazing on private property,dogs everywhere,and people are discouraged from walking along there by their hostility.Also I'd be curious how they legally tax and insure their vehicles,given that they have no permanent address.
There are "travellers" in Crockford Lane more often now.The mess they leave behind is unbelievable.Why can't they be charged to have a skip for their rubbish? The Council is flapping on about fly-tipping but won't touch them because it is frightened of the traveller's "rights" There are ponies grazing on private property,dogs everywhere,and people are discouraged from walking along there by their hostility.Also I'd be curious how they legally tax and insure their vehicles,given that they have no permanent address. yorkey2
  • Score: 0

10:04am Tue 26 Mar 13

Sam_Walker123456 says...

yorkey2 asks, 'I'd be curious how they legally tax and insure their vehicles,given that they have no permanent address.'
Most travellers do have a permanent address for 'official' mail. Because of their lifestyle they tend to pay higher insurance premiums than the rest of us who have our vehicles parked overnight in a garage, on a drive or outside our home. They know that because of their high profile if they did not keep their vehicles legal they would stand a greater chance of getting caught and their vehicles impounded.
Regarding the mess they leave behind, they should be prosecuted as fly tippers, but the problem the police have is proving it was them that did it - they would have to have 24 hours a day surveillance to catch them doing it.
yorkey2 asks, 'I'd be curious how they legally tax and insure their vehicles,given that they have no permanent address.' Most travellers do have a permanent address for 'official' mail. Because of their lifestyle they tend to pay higher insurance premiums than the rest of us who have our vehicles parked overnight in a garage, on a drive or outside our home. They know that because of their high profile if they did not keep their vehicles legal they would stand a greater chance of getting caught and their vehicles impounded. Regarding the mess they leave behind, they should be prosecuted as fly tippers, but the problem the police have is proving it was them that did it - they would have to have 24 hours a day surveillance to catch them doing it. Sam_Walker123456
  • Score: 0

10:10am Tue 26 Mar 13

Sam_Walker123456 says...

Perhaps there would be fewer illegal encampments if the council provided the seven extra, managed pitches that its own 2012 report identified as being needed.
The council does not seem willing or able to grasp this particular nettle and is doing nothing to provide a solution as it is required to do by law. Until they take the iniative we will continue to plagued by illegal sites in our borough.
Perhaps there would be fewer illegal encampments if the council provided the seven extra, managed pitches that its own 2012 report identified as being needed. The council does not seem willing or able to grasp this particular nettle and is doing nothing to provide a solution as it is required to do by law. Until they take the iniative we will continue to plagued by illegal sites in our borough. Sam_Walker123456
  • Score: 0

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