12 Jul Travellers site by May
A permanent travellers site could be built in Dudley by May – as council bosses try to stop illegal camps in the borough.
Council officers have been asked to find a suitable location ahead of the travellers season next year.
Plans have been in the pipeline for two years as a proposed temporary travellers site in Coseley was scrapped in January.
The new proposed permanent site would bring in tougher eviction powers for the council and police to deal with illegal camps.
Council leader Patrick Harley said: “I have asked officers to find a location which can be ready for next May.
“We need to make sure that we find a site that is agreed between political parties.”
Tory plans for a temporary travellers site in Budden Road, Coseley, for a three-year-period, were set to be rubber stamped before Labour took power of Dudley Council.
Labour then put those plans on hold before ditching them earlier this year.
At the time, former Labour council leader Qadar Zada said his administration wanted to find a location for a permanent site.
His administration also unveiled proposals to bring in an injunction on council-owned land.
These measures are what councillor Harley, leader of the controlling Conservatives administration, wants to pursue.
He said: “I think we are going for a borough-wide injunction which would be against unknown parties.”
This would be similar to one that Wolverhampton Council brought in February where 60 council-owned sites are now protected.
In the mean time, heavy concrete bollards have been earmarked for parks and green spaces in Dudley to prevent vehicles trespassing. Among them is Withymoor Park, Amblecote, which had bollards installed in March.
Councillor Harley said “the blocks are helping” to prevent vehicles trespassing – but the goal is to find a long term solution.
Clean-up and legal fees – with court action sometimes required for an eviction – costs Dudley tax-payers £150,000 each years.
Leading councillors from both parties, alongside council officers, will be holding talks behind closed doors to find a location for a permanent site.