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Opposition councillors vow to bring back Coseley travellers site

By Dayna Farrington | Coseley | News | Published:

Opposition bosses have vowed to bring back plans for a temporary travellers site in Coseley - after council leaders scrapped the controversial proposals.

Conservative group leader at Dudley Council Patrick Harley said the new proposals were 'doomed to failure' after it was announced the Labour-run council would no longer move ahead with the Budden Road site.

Dudley Council leader Qadar Zada said the authority had carried out another review into the site after regaining control of the authority and deemed it unsutiable.

He said the council are now proposing a range of measures to help resolve the issue including identifying a permenant transit site and borough-wide injunction against traveller. They will also work to improve the safety of sites vulnerable to travellers and bring in dedicated enforcement officers.

Councillor Zada also hit out at the former administration for being ‘totally inadequate’ in the work undertaken around the site and said their review detailed a ‘systematic failure’ in addressing the issue.

But Councillor Harley hit out at the new proposals, stating Councillor Zada may as well put up a sign for travellers saying 'Welcome to Dudley'.

He said: "We will be bringing back the plans for Budden Road when we get back power in May. We had support from neighbouring boroughs - including Sandwell Council which introduced a temorary site.

"We had support from David Jamieson, the police and crime commissioner, on the site. It was the recognised vehicle to deal with the annual problem of travellers. The Secretary of State approved it.

"A nine-year-old child could have thought of a better alternative. You cannot protect our parks and open spaces by installing bollards. What travellers do is rip them up.

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"It just shows Councillor Zada's lack of political knowledge of the local area, vast inexperience and lack of political backbone.

"His policy simply won't work.

"More thorough work put into the Budden Road policy than any other council work. They worked day and night - it was an exhausted process. No more suitable sites were found.

"Everyone agreed a transit site was needed.

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"Councillor Zada has been leader for barely three months and his lack of political backbone by cancelling the site and going back to putting up barriers.

"It works in other authorities - Dudley will be the one left out. You might as well put up a sign saying 'Welcome to Dudley'. Residents will face more summer months of misery when they can't use our parks and open spaces.

"Budden Road had a lot of support from a lot of people, so it was well thought out. His policy is doomed to fail."

A report released on Friday outlines the reasons for ruling out Budden Road – citing a lack of value for money, failure to permanently resolve the issue, the site being 'unnecessarily large', no dedicated staff to operate the site, no out of hours service and the restriction of only assessing council-owned land.

Councillor Zada also dubbed the lack of policies and procedures of how the site would run as 'quite frankly shambolic'.

Councillor Zada told the Express & Star: "Budden Road doesn’t solve the problem. If it solved the problem we would have no objection about using it as a travellers site.

"The lack of work they [previous administration] have done to solve the problem, I think they have taken on an obsession with Budden Road and forgetting about what the exam question was – it has always been how do you resolve the challenge of having traveller encampments.

"What I would call their work is totally inadequate and what they have left is an intolerable mess – that we will clear up for them."

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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