A MOVE to halt illegal traveller encampments from setting up in swathes of Basingstoke and Deane has been made extended to five years.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council have been granted a final injunction from the High Court banning the setting up of unauthorised encampments in a large section of the borough.

Basingstoke and Deane has become the first borough in the county and one of a small number nationally to be granted the final injunction for a period of five years.

In July last year, the authorities gained a temporary injunction and were back in the High Court last Thursday (April 4) to extend the action with His Honour Judge Dight, sitting as a judge of the High Court, granting the bid.

The injunction prevents unauthorised encampments and unauthorised developments being set up or items fly-tipped within a designated area.

The injunction gives greater power to landowners and the police and means that anyone setting up an encampment in the injunction area will be prohibited from doing so and will be asked to leave immediately.

From April 2016 to April 2019 there were 182 unauthorised encampments recorded on borough council, county council and private land in Basingstoke and Deane. The borough council alone spent approximately £264,000 responding to and dealing with unauthorised encampments.

According to the borough council since the temporary injunction came into force, the number of unauthorised encampments dropped by 80 per cent and the number of days land was occupied by them reduced by 96 per cent, when comparing July 2017 to March 2018 and July 2018 to March 2019.

Evidence presented to the High Court gave examples of where communities have experienced significant impacts arising from noise, nuisance, intimidation, human excrement evident in hedges and on roadside verges, large amounts of household waste left by groups in addition to other waste including large amounts of fly-tipped tree cuttings.

Head of environmental services at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Tom Payne said: “Unauthorised encampments in Basingstoke and Deane have had an adverse impact on our communities and finding a long-term solution has been a top priority for us to address the serious problems caused including noise nuisance, intimidation and fly-tipped waste left on land.

“We were able to demonstrate the positive impact of the interim injunction over the past nine months and this supported our case for a final injunction covering much of the borough. The injunction is about upholding the law, responding and listening to the concerns of residents and businesses and protecting the borough’s green open spaces and business areas."

The area covered by the injunction is the urbanised area of Basingstoke town, as well as the outlying areas of Bramley, Silchester, Tadley Common and a small parcel of land at Stratfield Turgis.