Council wins appeal to keep unauthorised encampments injunction
In April 2019, the borough council and Hampshire County Council were granted a five year injunction by the High Court, prohibiting identified people and new people from setting up unauthorised encampments within the urbanised area of Basingstoke town, as well as the areas of Bramley, Silchester, Tadley Common and a small parcel of land at Stratfield Turgis.
Following an application for a similar injunction to the High Court by the London Borough of Enfield, all 37 injunctions granted to local authorities were reviewed by the High Court. A total of 16 councils – including Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council – appealed the points raised after the review that would have made changes, the most significant being that it wouldn’t apply to anyone who wasn’t previously named on the injunction.
Yesterday (Thursday 13 January) the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, meaning that the injunction remains in place to include both those named as well as anyone else setting up an unauthorised encampment in the areas covered.
The injunction gives greater power to landowners and the police and means that anyone setting up an encampment in the injunction area will be prohibited from doing so and will be asked to leave immediately. The area covered in the injunction captures those communities most regularly experiencing the negative impacts of unauthorised encampments.
From April 2016 to April 2019 there were 182 unauthorised encampments recorded on borough council, county council and private land in Basingstoke and Deane. Encampments on borough council land were typically there for two to three weeks while the lengthy process to enforce their removal took place. Those on private land often took even longer. It is estimated that the borough council alone spent approximately £264,000 responding to and dealing with unauthorised encampments.
Since the injunction has been in force there have only been a total of 22 unauthorised encampments in the borough and those encampments that occurred in the area of the injunction remained for an average of under two days.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Planning and Infrastructure Cllr Simon Bound said: “It is great news that the judge granted our appeal and determined that injunctions will continue to ban anyone setting up an unauthorised encampment in the injunction area, not just those people named. The council ‘s injunction is based on clear evidence of unacceptable behaviour impacting on communities in our borough caused by unauthorised encampments. This included noise nuisance, intimidation and fly-tipped waste left on land.
“This means that we can continue to ban any unauthorised encampments from setting up in a large part of our borough where we were able to prove past incidents had caused problems for residents. I would like to thank the team of officers and members of the community who worked hard to get this injunction in the first place and fought for its retention. We can continue to protect residents in areas that have a history of being badly impacted and this sends out the message that we will not tolerate antisocial behaviour of any kind in our borough.”
To find out more visit: https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/encampments