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Plea for traveller camp help in Dudley as scrapped Coseley plan resurfaces

By Jamie Brassington | Coseley | News | Published:

Dudley Council leaders have approached 100 different landowners across the borough in a desperate bid to find a suitable temporary travellers’ site.

Travellers' caravans have been parked up on a car park in Dudley for more than a week

An urgent search is under way to find a preferred location – but leader Patrick Harley has warned the council may be forced to look at previous sites including Budden Road in Coseley.

The Conservative-led administration wants to establish a site – which would allow for much quicker evictions of unauthorised camps – by May 2020.

Councillor Harley told the Express & Star: “We have approached 100 agencies and landowners since taking control in May, but no one has returned anything positive.

"If we have no success then we may have to go back to those sites which we previously looked at.”

A council-owned plot of land in Budden Road was chosen last year for a temporary site.

But the project was thrown out by the Dudley Labour Group which took control of the council in September.

Budden Road was the preferred site out of a shortlist of 10 possible locations.

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The plans drew objections from residents and businesses who complained that the land was contaminated from past industries.

Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden raised the matter with central government, which temporarily suspended the project.

But a minister backed Dudley Council’s project. However, this was before Labour threw out the plans.

The Conservatives took back control in May and Councillor Harley is now appealing for any landowners to help.

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He added: “These (previous) sites were acceptable to planning officers at Dudley Council. But we hope we don’t have to go back to them.”

This development comes as an unauthorised camp has been situated on a car park in Flood Street, in Dudley town centre, for more than two weeks.

Council officers are in discussion with the travellers – who arrived in late July – about a possible leaving date.

Labour group leader Qadar Zada called for urgency on Dudley Council to find a long-term solution.

He added: “I feel sorry for the local residents around Flood Street and the camp is discouraging shoppers from coming to Dudley.”

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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