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More options drawn up in review into Coseley traveller camp plans

By Jamie Brassington | Coseley | News | Published:

A review into plans for a controversial temporary traveller’s site could soon be wrapped up – with council bosses drawing up a range of options to tackle illegal camps.

Travellers in Dudley

The plans for a transit site in Budden Road, Coseley, have been on hold since Labour took control of Dudley Council from the Conservatives to carry out their own review.

Former council leader Patrick Harley, who is Dudley’s Conservative group leader, branded the council ‘spineless’ for halting the plans.

But new council leader Qadar Zada says the review should finish ‘shortly’ with council bosses looking at alternative sites and measures.

The Coseley site was chosen by the council, under the Conservative leadership, after a review was taken to find a suitable site in the borough, with a shortlist of 10 sites drawn up.

But the Coseley community objected strongly to this. Residents and businesses signed a 1,000-strong petition and held a protest on the steps of Dudley council house.

The Coseley community complained that the Budden Road site, which is council land, is contaminated from past industries and unsuitable to use.

Dudley Council wants to build a transit site to stop illegal camp which have been plaguing the borough for years. Clean-up costs and legal fees cost tax-payers £150,000-a-year.

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The police and council would get tougher powers to evict illegal camps quickly and travellers would be able to stay at the dedicated site.

But the controlling Labour group were concerned about how the Conservative conducted their review. Council Zada said: “We are fully committed to ensuring that we adequately manage traveller incursions in the borough in the future.

“There are range of measures and interventions we are considering which includes better enforcement as well as a transit site. This is a complex issue and one that we must get right, with any transit site fulfilling our obligation to local residents which includes the need to ensure that it is located in an area where it does not cause any additional concerns to residents.

“When we took control of the council we initiated the current review because a number of concerns were raised about the way this had been handled by the previous administration.

“We are a council committed to listening to local residents and we were also not convinced that all sites were properly looked at.”

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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