Halesowen travellers site plans approved – despite hundreds of objections
Plans for a permanent travellers' site in Halesowen have been given the green light by planning bosses – despite fears from residents that crime in the area would soar.
Dudley Council's planning committee approved the proposals for a seven-pitch caravan park on the former Saltbrook Road Scrapyard – after officers recommended approval.
The application had led to 329 objections from residents of nearby homes and properties.
Opponents claimed the proposal for two permanent pitches and five transit spaces would see an increase in anti-social behaviour and crime in the area,
In recent months, Dudley Council plans to provide its own travellers’ site for up to 40 caravans have been shelved after disagreements over where it should be located.
Cradley and Wollescote Councillor Richard Body, speaking on behalf of residents, told members of the planning committee the site had been a scrapyard since 1987 and oil and contaminants had seeped into the soil, while the entrance regularly flooded.
He added: “We have had objections from over 300 locals . As elected members we are here to serve our electors. If over 300 are ignored just to get this through, I think that is totally wrong.”
In a report to councillors, planning officers said the application had attracted a large number of objections stating an increase in crime but added: “There is no such evidence available to support these claims.
“Furthermore this view is further opposed by the Police who have raised no objections to the proposed use of the site subject to it being approved on a temporary basis and subject to an appropriate management plan being in place to ensure that the management of the site can be closely monitored.”
Daniel Green, on behalf of the landowner Jack Sutcliffe, said the council had recognised there was a need for an additional 25 travellers pitches in the borough and officers had agreed the site would help deliver those spaces.
He said concerns over flooding along with environmental impact had been addressed by conditions agreed with planning officers, adding Mr Sutcliffe intended to use the site as his permanent home and would invest heavily to clean up the land and ensure it met all the council’s requirements.
Councillors passed the application by a majority vote at their meeting on May 28.
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