Coseley travellers' camp anger prompts protest and 1,000-strong petition
Campaigners have protested outside a council house at plans for a temporary travellers site – and handed over a petition signed by nearly 1,000 people.
Members of ‘Coseley Focus’ stood at the foot of Dudley Council house to voice their opposition to proposals to build the transit site on Budden Road in Coseley.
And they vowed to ‘do whatever it takes’ to stop the plans becoming reality.
The council is setting up the site in a bid to tackle illegal camps, which will cost tax-payers £150,000 a year in clean-up and legal fees.
They have earmarked Budden Road as the preferred site, but members of the public can still have their say as part of a planning application.
Coseley Focus has notched 956 signatures on a petition opposing the specific site, which was given to councillors before a full council meeting on Monday night.
Dudley Council has pushed back the date for objections to April 26.
Campaigner Tony Sheldon, 70, of Gough Road, Coseley, raised concerns about the land in Budden Road being ‘contaminated’.
He said the protest had proved a success, adding: “It was a good day for us. We did not get as many as expected but we accomplished what we wanted to do.
“Some of the councillors came out and we got some really good information from them. They came and out to us on the steps and spoke to us and we handed in a petition.
“We had collected almost 1,000 signatures. We had some paper petitions printed off and took them to different areas of Coseley. There were 956 signatures all together and we made sure that all those that signed had a Coseley post code.
“We are more or less saying to the council how can you put that site on contaminated land.
“We are going to hold a meeting at the Apple Tree pub in Coseley to determine which one of us is going to speak for three minutes at the next council meeting. I think three minutes is ridiculous.
“We have been going ever since we found out about this potential site which has been about two months.
"We plan to protest again. We will do whatever we think is possible to stop this going ahead.”
Campaigners took to the streets of Coseley last week to hand deliver around 2,000 leaflets to residents informing them about the transit site and the group’s next steps.
Council leader Patrick Harley said: “We have gone through quite a democratic process. During the consultation process residents and councillors were asked to submit alternative sites and they did, but none matched the criteria Budden Road did,
“People have a right to protest but if they have concerns then they should lodge their objections in the correct manner.”
The council and police will be able to move travellers onto the transit site from illegal camps elsewhere in the borough, giving them tougher powers.
The site will have water, power and waste facilities. Travellers would be charged a fee for a short stay.
The camp will last for a three-year period.