TEST Valley Borough Council has been granted a final injunction order by the High Court to prohibit the setup of unauthorised Traveller encampments in certain parts of the borough.

The order, which was granted on Friday, May 17, covers around 17 square miles, encompassing the Alma Road car park in Romsey, Romsey Rapids and the Nursling and Rownhams hall and recreation ground.

The whole of Andover is also included. It prohibits a list of named individuals as well as ‘persons unknown’ from setting up unauthorised encampments within the defined areas and includes the power to arrest those who breach the order. 

During his judgment, Judge Dight stated that he found the council’s evidence ‘compelling’ and accepted the need for the council to be able to protect residents from encampments. 

It was the final hearing of the council’s application for an injunction order, after the High Court granted an interim order in summer 2020. 

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Cllr Phil North, leader of Test Valley Borough Council, said: “I’m really grateful to Judge Dight for his decision, which protects those living in the injunction area from the appalling behaviour that we’ve had to experience over many years. The evidence we submitted to the court included over 80 instances of unauthorised encampments, with the vast majority including some form of fly-tipping, damage, nuisance, or intimidating behaviour - and with every single encampment occupying land without permission.

"Meaning that when illegally occupied, our parks and open spaces couldn’t be used for their primary purpose and leaving the council - and ultimately the taxpayer - having to clean up the mess.

“It’s regrettable that we had to take this action - but I’m clear that unauthorised traveller encampments won’t be tolerated in Test Valley. The reinstatement of the power of arrest against ‘persons unknown’ means that in partnership with the police we can, once again, move on any perpetrator very quickly without having to seek protracted court orders. I’m sure this will also act as a deterrent from unauthorised encampments from coming to Test Valley in the first place, along with all the other work we have done to better protect our open spaces.

“I wish to recognise and give thanks to the officers across the council who have worked tirelessly over many years to gather and present the evidence to support our case. Their efforts are appreciated.”