A TEST Valley councillor has said “no area is safe” until the authority introduces a transit site for Travellers.

A group of Travellers with about 10 vans, lots of vehicles and a large number of children have pitched up at Valley Park in Chandler’s Ford.

Setting up on Thursday, June 22 evening, the Travellers broke the lock between Tweed Close and Taw Drive to set up camp before moving to Knightwood Leisure Centre on Sunday, June 25.

Cllr Alan Dowden and other residents have reported the case to the police but the former Test Valley mayor believes it could still be weeks before they leave.

UPDATE: Test Valley Borough Council confirm Travellers have left Valley Park

Cllr Dowden, who represents the Valley Park ward, said: “They’re a nightmare. I keep getting complaints from residents about them going into the woodland and using the toilet there and behaving obnoxiously.

“It’s a vast area of open park land and they’ve got all sorts of vehicles there with lots of children, which makes things more difficult because social services have to be involved.

“People are asking ‘why do they have more rights than we do?’ Unfortunately, this government hasn’t changed its law and has pushed it back onto the district councils to have a transit site. The borough council needs a court order to remove them.

“Until we have a transit site, no area is safe from an invasion. They leave a complete mess which is disturbing for everyone.

SEE ALSO: Survey reveals lack of sites for Gypsies and Travellers

“The process to remove them has to be done properly which people don’t understand. In my experience, they will ignore the move within 48-hour notice.

“I’ve told people to leave it to the authorities because they can be intimidating and I want people to be safe. People are annoyed because they’re taking up the recreational space of lots of residents.

"Travellers have broken through before a number of times within this area. My wife Cllr Celia Dowden and I will be seeking that Test Valley protect this area further with a height barrier and metal barriers. Local residents have had enough of these illegal invasions."

Cllr Dowden alerted Test Valley Borough Council on Thursday evening after he spotted the Travellers around 8pm. The ex-mayor said the council is working on a court order but believes the Travellers could be there for weeks depending on how busy the courts are.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said: "We are aware of an unauthorised encampment at on land between Tweed Close and Taw Drive in Chandler’s Ford that was reported to us at 8.40pm on Thursday, June 22.

"Officers are continuing to monitor the situation and working closely with the landowners, and local partners, in order to seek a suitable resolution."

The police have since confirmed the Travellers have left the area.

Test Valley Borough Council has been contacted for comment.