The Picket Twenty group of travellers are located on the roadside verge opposite the sports site. This land is under the control of Persimmon Homes so they will need to make provision to remove this group through the courts.
To reassure residents, the main access points around the sports fields have been closed off with concrete blocks and new ditches.**
I’m aware that travellers have broken into land at Picket Twenty again this evening. Local councillor, Chris Donnelly and I have already reported this to Test Valley officers to investigate, and if it is on our land, to start eviction proceedings.
Unfortunately, this latest incident follows the presence of travellers at Saxon Fields last week, the same group of which have also now moved on to Taylor Wimpey land at Augusta Park.
I am clear that we take a zero tolerance approach to travellers in Test Valley and will always take immediate action to remove unauthorised encampments.
It is clear to me though that we have had more incidents of unauthorised traveller activity in Andover this year then ever before – and so I have asked my officers to investigate the possibility of getting an injunction in place, which would enable us to remove travellers immediately, with the threat of arrest, without having to go through an arduous court process. This has worked well for other authorities but we need to justify to the court that it is required in Andover.
Additionally, we’ve been ramping up security on our vulnerable sites and additional bunding is being put in at Smannell road and Saxon Fields.
Cllr Phil North
Leader of TVBC
Phil North, Leader of Test Valley Borough Council has vowed to take on the issue of travellers camping in the Andover area.
Over the last few months, Andover open spaces have been inundated with travellers setting up camp.
The travellers regularly camp on Saxon Fields, Augusta Park and Picket Twenty causing a nuisance and distress to local residents, they are regularly moved on by police following a court eviction process, but this generally sees them merely moving to another site in the Andover area, often leaving a large amount of rubbish and mess behind them.
Test Valley Borough Council and Hampshire County Council have both spent considerable sums of money in trying to keep Andover open space areas protected from invasion by installing bollards and soil ‘bunding’, however, this seems only to force the travellers on to new sites.
Cllr North said in a statement on his Facebook page that he intends to seek an injunction to ensure that any travellers settling in Andover will be able to be immediately evicted.