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Coseley travellers' site plans denied by leader

By George Makin | Coseley | News | Published:

Claims that a controversial plan to build a travellers’ site in Coseley would be reintroduced by Conservatives if they win control of the council have been denied by the party’s leader.

Craig Jones, Co-founder of Coseley Focus group

Councillor Patrick Harley said if his party succeeds in taking power, they will not resubmit the proposal and will continue to work with Labour councillors to find an alternative site.

A report last week sparked anger amongst residents who said they would chain themselves to fences in an effort to stop the site being built on Budden Road.

Craig Jones, the co-founder of the Coseley Focus Group, reacting to the claim said: “I think residents will be really angry, with both parties, particularly because some were told that another location for the site had finalised – in another area – before the recent elections.

“We will do anything we can to stop it and if that means chaining ourselves to fences we will do it. It may be a bit drastic but we want to show them that we don’t want it here.”

In February last year, the then Conservative controlled council backed the plan, saying it was needed to tackle illegal camps, which cost tax-payers £150,000 a year in clean-up and legal fees.

But the controversial proposal was thrown out by Labour when it took power in September last year.

Councillor Harley said claims Conservatives would resubmit the proposal were wrong and his party had no plans to do so.

“As far as I’m concerned, we are no longer interested in the Budden Road site as a site for travellers.”

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He added: “We will be looking at that site for housing, but not as a travellers’ site. We will be working with the Labour Group to find a suitable site elsewhere in the borough.”

Craig Jones welcomed Councillor Harley’s assurance saying: “We recognise there needs to be a site but nowhere near Budden Road and residents, or anywhere in Dudley.”

And he warned: “If they go back on their word there will be even more of a backlash.”

May’s local elections have left both parties with 36 councillors each and a full council meeting on Thursday will decide who runs Dudley for the next 12 months, using the casting vote of the mayor.

George Makin

By George Makin
@GeorgePMakin

Local Democracy Reporter covering Sandwell and Dudley.

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