Council and police agree partnership to tackle illegal traveller camps in Dudley
Leaders in the Black Country have signed a new agreement to tackle unauthorised traveller encampments in a borough.
Chiefs and Dudley Council and police chiefs have agreed a deal to make it quicker to tackle the issue with a co-ordinated response.
It comes as leaders say they are "pressing ahead" with the controversial travellers site in Budden Road in Coseley, due to be complete by August.
Councillor Laura Taylor, cabinet member for housing, communities and residents’ welfare, said: "This is about setting out very clearly, how we are going to work together to tackle unauthorised traveller encampments in the borough.
"We have to make sure we do everything we can to minimise disruption for residents while exercising our increased powers in being able to move travellers to the new transit site.
"The transit site is very much a deterrent, and from our research into similar sites, we expect it to be very rarely used.
"What it does do is give us greater powers, along with our partners in the police, to move unauthorised encampments on quicker.
"I very much welcome this new protocol which cements an already excellent working relationship with the police."
Chiefs from both sides signed the Managing Unauthorised Encampments Joint Protocol to improve their partnership on the issue.
Sally Bourner, chief superintendent, Dudley neighbourhood policing unit commander, added: "Our work as a partnership in Dudley has resulted in a robust joint protocol to address unauthorised encampments. This strikes a balance between supporting both the settled and also the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in our borough.
"Dudley Council will take the lead with support from Dudley Police to unlock special powers which allow the police to direct unauthorised encampments to a designated site.
"The use of the transit site will see a reduction in unauthorised camps in Dudley and provide support to travelling families, providing a consistent approach."
Dudley Council received planning approval for the Budden Road site in 2018. The plans were shelved while the council carried out further extensive searches for an alternative site.
But the plans for the temporary Coseley site were put back on the table earlier this year after searches for alternative sites failed.
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