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Injunction issued for traveller site

High court action to stop 'unlawful encampment' at Easter

Charlotte Booth

Charlotte Booth

charlotte.booth@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886637

West Berkshire Council launches legal challenge over housing appeal

BASINGSTOKE and Deane Borough Council won a High Court injunction over an unofficial traveller site off Bramley Road, Silchester.

The injunction, issued by the Royal Courts of Justice on March 28, prevents anyone bringing hard core, aggregate or other surfacing materials onto the field and prevents anyone from bringing on or living in any caravans within the site.

The head of planning and infrastructure at the council, Matthew Evans, said: “Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council was made aware by the parish council that there was a likelihood of an unlawful encampment being located on to the land, off Bramley Lane, Silchester, which had recently been sold and was allegedly to be sold on again.

“We understood this occupation was likely to occur over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

“We acted upon this information, having concluded that such occupation would be harmful to the area, produced a full witness statement to supplement the parish council evidence, and sought an urgent court listing and the appointment of counsel. 

“We were granted the injunction, and served the injunction, all prior to the bank holiday.”

Silchester Parish Council chairman Simon Mahaffey, said: “We think BDBC should be congratulated for being proactive and taking the concerns of residents seriously. 

“Nobody in the parish wants to see the traveller community vilified but, equally, we feel strongly that the planning process applies to all members of the community and that these deliberate, unauthorised developments should be stopped. 

“The vast majority of the traveller community are perfectly law-abiding citizens but this sort of activity does not serve their community well as it tars them all with the same brush and makes it even harder for them to integrate with the settled community. 

“The action taken by BDBC sends a strong message to anyone considering similar actions in the borough, no matter what their background, that it does not pay to try to subvert the planning process. 

“People are all too often critical of planners but in this case the parish council and the residents of Silchester fully support the strong stance they have taken.”

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