Council leader invites public opinion on travellers site proposal

Cllr Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council

Residents are invited to have their say on plans to develop a temporary travellers’ site in the borough in an effort to end unauthorised camps.

Dudley Council is launching a consultation on the plans, developed in response to the increasing number of traveller incursions which have taken place on public open spaces in recent years. 

The total cost of unauthorised incursions, including clean up costs, staff time as well as the additional costs to evict them have cost taxpayers around £150,000 per year since 2015.

The council is now looking to set up a three-year temporary transit site in the borough, which would enable the authority and police to act far more quickly to evict travellers from unauthorised sites.

Potential sites were assessed and scored according to criteria. A council-owned site on Budden Road in Coseley, has been assessed as the preferred site for a temporary period of three years. This will give the council time to identify a location for a permanent site.

The on-line consultation asks people if they have been affected by incursions, if they think the council has done enough to prevent them, if they support the council’s plans to set up the site and what they think about  the council’s preference for the temporary site at Budden Road.

It can be found here and the closing date is 19 January 2017. Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:

“In recent years, unauthorised camps have caused distress and anger among residents, as well as costing taxpayers thousands of pounds to clean up afterwards and for us to protect other sites.

“At the moment our only response is a through a legal process which takes up to a week to evict a group of travellers, only for them to move on to another site nearby. 

“Having a transit site will stop this from happening. Evidence from other local authorities indicates that transit sites are used very infrequently and the most significant effect it has is preventing travellers establishing encampments in the area in the first place.

 “While I understand the identification of a preferred site may cause concern among residents, I firmly believe that having a transit site in the borough will benefit us all. 

“But I want to hear residents’ views too, so please do have your say.”

A transit site is a dedicated short stay site, for which travellers pay rent to cover costs of power, water and waste disposal.  As access is legitimate and as facilities are provided, additional clean-ups are no longer required.


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