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Coseley transit travellers site will be built despite strong opposition

By Dayna Farrington | Coseley | News | Published:

A travellers transit site will be created in Coseley despite a backlash from people living nearby.

Dudley Council says it wants to stop illegal encampments such as this in Dudley town centre last August

Dudley Council will go-ahead with the plan almost a year after they were shelved by the previous ruling authority.

The Conservative-run authority confirmed the £300,000 work will start within weeks at the site in Budden Road.

Neighbouring Wolverhampton Council is looking for a similar site in the Whitmore Reans area.

Walsall Council is also working on its own plans and Sandwell Council already has a transit site in place.

Dudley Council said it faced "increasing pressure" to avoid illegal encampments being pushed into the borough from elsewhere in the Black Country.

'Betrayal'

But Labour MP Pat McFadden, whose Wolverhampton South East seat covers the area, called it a "betrayal of the people of Coseley".

It came after the then-Labour-run council backtracked on the Coseley site last February and sought to find an alternative site.

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Budden Road will be the location for the travellers transit site

The Conservatives took back control of the council in May and have now returned to focus on Budden Road which already has planning permission.

The Budden Road travellers site is expected to be completed in late spring and will be open for two years.

Dudley Council leader, Councillor Patrick Harley, said: "The issue has been ongoing for years and residents have told us they are fed up with the disruption and damage that unauthorised encampments bring.

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"Our neighbours are all looking to set up transit sites which makes us very vulnerable to illegal encampments so we have to act.

"When we get reports of unauthorised encampments we start the necessary legal process quickly, but there is a delay as the legal measures take time to secure, normally between five and seven working days.

The land off Budden Road, centre, is the location for the new travellers transit site is close to homes and businesses

"When travellers do leave the site there is usually the expense of cleaning up which adds to the expense for the taxpayer.

"With a transit site, the travellers, in the unlikely event that they decide to use the site rather than move out of the borough, have to pay a deposit which is returned only if the site is left in the same condition they found it.

"We really have exhausted every alternative in a bid to find the right site, and that is Budden Road.

"What is important now is that we monitor the site closely throughout the two years and listen to the views of local people in that time, before reviewing the future of the site at the end of its tenure.”

Councillor Harley said last August that an urgent search was under way to find an alternative location – but warned the council may be forced to look at previous sites including Budden Road.

Home Secretary Priti Patel visits Woodside Park, Dudley, last November with, from left, Dudley Council leader Patrick Harley, now-Tory MP for Dudley North Marco Longhi, Dudley South MP Mike Wood and Tory West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Jay Singh-Sohal

It came as Home Secretary Priti Patel vowed to end the "misery" that illegal traveller camps cause to communities during a visit to see anti-encampment measures in Dudley last November.

But Mr McFadden today hit back, saying: "The Conservative group in Dudley said they would not resurrect proposals to use the Budden Road site. Yet that is precisely what they are doing.

"People will ask why didn’t the Conservatives inform them of their intentions during the recent election.

"This not the right site for this proposal and it is deeply opposed by local residents and businesses.”

A temporary transit site gives authorities, in partnership with police, additional legal powers to remove any unauthorised encampments which target open spaces.

Dudley Council say the site will be subject to an ongoing review.

Letters will be sent out to residents living nearby this weekend.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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