Havant Borough Council’s Cabinet has agreed to protect vulnerable open spaces from future unauthorised encampments by using natural defences.
During the meeting councillors discussed concerns raised by residents about unauthorised encampments at a number of sites in the borough and the need to balance the council’s responsibility to ensure the welfare of travellers is met once they have arrived.
With many sites in the borough being vulnerable Cabinet agreed, in line with the council's draft Climate Change Strategy, to adopt measures to defend open spaces with natural mounds (made from soil) - alongside tree planting that will prevent unauthorised access.
From identified sites, prioritisation will be agreed and the use of natural defences and planting in large open spaces will begin.
A budget of £20k has been earmarked for defences.
Councillor Tim Pike, Cabinet lead for Finance, Regeneration and Estates said: “This is a clear commitment to ensure sites in the borough are defended in a sustainable way, without security measures that could impact on the enjoyment of the area.”
The Leader of Havant Borough Council, Councillor Alex Rennie added: “This is the ideal way of bringing forward improvements to open spaces so residents can continue to enjoy them on a day-to-day basis, whilst there is the secondary benefit of protecting areas from unauthorised encampments.”
During 2019 there were 16 unauthorised encampments that gained access to council owned land. The costs associated with carrying out welfare checks, eviction and clear up costs were between £1,000 and £1,500 per encampment.
Depending on the circumstances of each encampment the eviction process can take anything from 24 hours to ten working days to carry out.