SIR: Last week another unauthorised traveller encampment was set up on Bramdean Common. Winchester City Council immediately began its procedures to move them on, incurring considerable expense and officer time. Whilst on site, residents often experience anxiety and disruption. Once gone, a substantial clean up is required - on one occasion last year local residents removed 50 bags of rubbish left on site. By the time this letter is published, the encampment will in all likelihood have moved somewhere else. This is a regular occurrence on this site, across the district and in the wider area.

However, councils are restricted as to what they can do to protect residents and the issue is an additional burden on council taxpayers. The Home Office concluded a consultation in March this year on creating criminal offences of trespass when setting up an unauthorised encampments. These offences would give the police the power to act immediately and incentivise travellers to use authorised sites only (which is what 95 per cent of travellers already do). It would save the council money and provide greater protection to our residents. Test Valley District Council recently passed a motion effectively urging the Government to create these offences. Parish councils in the southern part of the district have asked Winchester to support this proposal. I have therefore proposed a motion in the same terms as the next meeting of full council and I hope that all councillors will give it their support.

Hugh Lumby,

Upper Meon Valley ward,

Winchester City Council,

High Street,