Councils granted unauthorised encampments injunction
Basingstoke and Deane has become the first borough in the county and one of a small number nationally to be granted the final injunction for a period of five years. It prevents unauthorised encampments and unauthorised developments being set up or items fly-tipped within a designated area covering the urbanised area of Basingstoke town, as well as the outlying areas of Bramley, Silchester, Tadley Common and a small parcel of land at Stratfield Turgis.
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. The borough council alone spent approximately £264,000 responding to and dealing with unauthorised encampments.
An interim injunction was granted to the borough council and the county council in July 2018, resulting in a significant impact on the number of unauthorised encampments in the borough. The number of unauthorised encampments dropped by 80 per cent when the interim injunction came into force and the number of days land was occupied by unauthorised encampments reduced by 96 per cent (comparing July 2017 to March 2018 with July 2018 to March 2019)*.
Evidence presented to the High Court gave examples of where communities have experienced significant impacts arising from noise, nuisance, intimidation, human excrement evident in hedges and on roadside verges, large amounts of household waste left by groups in addition to other waste including large amounts of fly-tipped tree cuttings.
Since November 2017 officers at the borough council have been gathering statements from those people most impacted, including local residents, ward councillors, landowners, partners and businesses to support the application for the interim injunction. On Thursday 4 April the application for a final injunction was granted by His Honour Judge Dight (sitting as a judge of the High Court) and will take effect immediately.
Head of Environmental Services at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Tom Payne said: “Unauthorised encampments in Basingstoke and Deane have had an adverse impact on our communities and finding a long-term solution has been a top priority for us to address the serious problems caused including noise nuisance, intimidation and fly-tipped waste left on land.
“We were able to demonstrate the positive impact of the interim injunction over the past nine months and this supported our case for a final injunction covering much of the borough. The injunction is about upholding the law, responding and listening to the concerns of residents and businesses and protecting the borough’s green open spaces and business areas."
To view the full application visit https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/injunction-application
*Between 30 July 2017 and 30 March 2018 there were 71 unauthorised encampments and 891 days of land between occupied compared to 14 unauthorised encampments and 38 days of land being occupied between 30 July 2018 and 30 March 2019. The interim injunction came into force on 30 July 2018.