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Kingsclere Parish Council spends £2,000 evicting travellers from field

AROUND £2,000 was spent on evicting travellers from a Kingsclere field in August, it has been revealed.

In a parish council meeting, council chairman John Sawyer described how two traveller caravans – described as a “benign family” by police – had pitched up on the Holding Field in the village on Friday, August 20.

They had stayed until the following Thursday morning, frequently delaying their departure and requests to leave until bailiffs employed by the council served the group notice.

Holding Field in Kingsclere ..Ref: 40-2321. (51940850)
Holding Field in Kingsclere ..Ref: 40-2321. (51940850)

They then left peacefully, leaving behind five sacks of litter in bin bags – as well as a flock of chickens, which they returned for.

The council had previously contacted Hampshire Police for help on the Friday – however, as the group was on private council land, the police was only able to try to persuade the group to leave.

In total, the council paid the bailiffs around £1,500, of which 20 per cent can be claimed back through VAT, plus 14 extra hours of clerk time and a bill of around £700 to get rid of the greenery that was left behind.

Holding Field in Kingsclere ..Ref: 40-2321. (51940909)
Holding Field in Kingsclere ..Ref: 40-2321. (51940909)

The bill, paid by Kingsclere taxpayers through the parish council precept, amounts to around five per cent of the precept bill.

Mr Sawyer said: “I make it sound jolly but it was quite tense.

“We were in a sense lucky. They didn’t move out on Monday as we’d been led to believe, but come the moment they did move, it was a benign event.

“If it had been ten caravans and less benign people, we would’ve had an enormous bill to pay.”

Councillor Clive Mussett said the council had “got off lightly”.

He said: “As jolly as I’m sure it was, at the end of the day it is forced entry on to the land.

“The cost of it is not picked up by central taxation, it’s picked up by the precept by the 1200 to 1300 homes in the village.

“While I fully acknowledge the village has got off lightly in that regard, we’re not talking of camping on public land, it’s slightly different.

“Just to put it in perspective, roughly £2,500 on the precept is roughly five per cent of the precept bill.

“When we see the budget for next year, keep in mind whatever the recommended precept rise it is, at least three per cent of that is just the cost of covering that issue.

“Although I do think it was good value for money, and could’ve been a lot more.”

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