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Council granted injunction to tackle illegal encampments

The High Court has today granted an injunction order to Test Valley Borough Council to prohibit the setup of unauthorised encampments.

The news follows a spate of incidents last summer, which saw travellers target various sites across the borough, with Andover particularly hard hit.

The injunction should now make it easier for the council to disperse, and potentially prosecute, encampments that set up on particular areas of land.

The court has also agreed to attach a power of arrest to the order, which means that those moving onto land or setting up camp in breach of the order, can be arrested and taken to court.

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, councillor Phil North, said: “This is an absolutely fantastic outcome and follows months of hard work from council officers who have committed a huge amount of time to gathering evidence to bolster our case.

“I have said before that we simply cannot endure another summer like 2019, with travellers breaking onto land, behaving antisocially and leaving behind a trail of fly-tipped waste and rubbish. It has a massive impact on the local community and council resources, and it simply isn’t acceptable that taxpayers are constantly having to foot the bill. The injunction will now strengthen our ability to evict unauthorised encampments quickly. We also understand from other local authorities that it seems to act as a deterrent, so we hope that it will encourage people will think twice before they even consider targeting Test Valley in the first place. 

“I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has been involved in piecing together this application to the High Court, including the police who have been hugely supportive in helping to provide the relevant evidence. They now have increased powers to help us in enforcing the injunction.”

As well as prohibiting encampments, the injunction also covers any stationing caravans or mobile homes set up without the permission of the landowner, and those who deposit controlled waste in the defined areas. 

The injunction applies to named individuals who have targeted parts of the borough previously as well as those who are new to the area.