Whilst the big news today will be the result of the General Election, I’m at somewhat of a disadvantage in having to write this the day before polls open. 

I will, therefore, reserve my reaction until my next column. However, I am happy to confirm that although I hope to continue to be working with Caroline as the Member of Parliament for Romsey and Southampton North, I will, of course work across political lines, like I already do in Test Valley, should the electorate make a different decision. 

Thank you to the Romsey Advertiser for covering our success in the High Court recently in obtaining an extended injunction order to crack down on unauthorised traveller encampments. In an early success for that order we were able to move on an encampment last week that had gained access to a cricket pitch at Romsey Sports Centre. Hampshire Constabulary attended almost immediately warning the occupants that they would be arrested if they didn’t swiftly move on.

Consequently, I’m pleased to report that the encampment was gone within a matter of hours, rather than the days it would have taken if we had to go through the process of gaining a specific court order. Enabling the pitches to continue to be used for their primary purpose much faster than would otherwise have been the case. Our injunction was obtained due to a repeated history of intolerable behaviour related to unauthorised encampments in Test Valley with the vast majority of them including some form of fly-tipping, the dumping of human waste, damage, nuisance, animal cruelty or intimidating or antisocial behaviour. I’m clear that unauthorised traveller encampments won’t be tolerated in Test Valley and my thanks go to council officers and the Police for acting so quickly to remove this one.

Finally, as this is my first column since Test Valley’s annual council. I wanted to congratulate Mid-Test councillor, Ian Jeffrey and his wife, Maura for becoming the new mayor and mayoress of the borough. A busy year lies ahead for them, attending various events and good causes. Ian became a councillor after a 37-year career in the Royal Navy. He was also a NATO diplomat, so the perfect training for chairing our council meetings!

Cllr Phil North,
Leader of Test Valley Borough Council