Proposal for temporary travellers' site to go before cabinet

Proposals to create a temporary travellers’ site in the borough in an effort to end unauthorised camps are to go before cabinet next week.

Over the last few years the borough has experienced an increasing number of traveller incursions on public open spaces. Clean up costs, 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. Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:

“Last year I made a firm commitment we would set up a transit site to help clamp down on the number of unauthorised camps set up across the borough.

“These camps not only cause distress and anger among residents but have cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds to clean up afterwards and for us to protect other public spaces from incursions.

“Once we have a site in the borough, rather than go through a legal process which can take days, the police can use further powers to direct an unauthorised encampment to move to the transit site without delay.

“Evidence suggests areas which have set up sites have seen a significant reduction in the number of incursions.”

Ten potential sites have been identified and scored according to criteria. A disused 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 permanent site.

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. Councillor Harley, added:

“I understand the identification of a proposed site may cause concern among residents, so we will be holding events in the community to explain why the site is required.

“But I do feel that due to the increasing number of incursions over recent years, we really do need to do something now to stop so many of our parks and open spaces being targeted by travellers.”

Cabinet members will be asked to refer the matter to Place scrutiny committee for detailed analysis of the process.


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