TRAVELLERS have set up an unauthorised camp at Brighton Hill Retail Park.

Caravans and vehicles have parked up at the retail park next to the former Pizza Hut which is now empty.

It is thought they arrived on Sunday. When a reporter from the Gazette went to visit the site, one of the men shouted abuse at her.

As previously reported, members of the traveller community have planned a third illegal horse and trap racing event on June 19 and 20 on the A33.

The first event took place on May 1 and 2 on the A33 near Micheldever causing disruption for other motorists as police were forced to close the road.

A second event happened on May 31 but was broken up by police.

It is not known if the travellers at Brighton Hill are in the area for the planned event next weekend.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council were granted an injunction by the High Court in April 2019 against the setting up of unauthorised encampments within the urbanised area of Basingstoke town.

This has reportedly significantly reduced the number of unauthorised encampments in the borough along with the associated clear-up costs.

In September last year, a High Court case relating to the London Borough of Enfield led to a review of this injunction, along with 37 other local authorities.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council was one of 16 to attend a hearing in January this year, relating to the application of the injunction to new, non-identified people setting up unauthorised encampments.

The High Court issued a judgement on May 12 to modify the injunction and remove ‘persons unknown’, meaning the council have to use alternative legal powers to regain possession of council owned land if those who set it up are not named on the injunction, which takes longer. 

When dealing with unauthorised encampments the council has to confirm whether it owns the land, carry out welfare checks, and serve a direction to leave.

The process can take between 10 and 14 working days to evict travellers.

Many of the unauthorised encampments within the borough are by groups of people who follow a nomadic way of life travelling the country, stopping off for a time and then moving on.

They are referred to as gypsies or traveller and are protected from discrimination by the Race Relation Act 1976 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

However, if a group moves onto a piece of property or land without gaining permission of the landowner, this becomes a matter of civil trespass.

The borough council has said it is aware of the unauthorised encampment at Brighton Hill Retail Park but has said it does not own the land.

The Gazette has asked LaSalle, which owns the site, for a comment.

UPDATE: The council has confirmed the travellers were moved on from the site at 10pm on Monday evening.