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More travellers pitches on the way to Walsall

By Carl Jackson | Walsall | News | Published:

More travellers pitches are to be created in Walsall than anywhere else in the Black Country.

More travellers pitches are on the way

A masterplan shows 27 new pitches for travellers and gipsies need to be found in the next four years with more than half of them – 15 – to be located in Walsall.

It will see the borough’s total tally increase 37 per cent from 40 to 55. By 2036 it is predicted Walsall will have a total of 69 pitches – 32 per cent of the of 215 in the Black Country.

In addition the number of plots in the borough will soar from 66 to 101 in the next 19 years – nearly double the 55 which will be in Wolverhampton, Dudley and Sandwell combined.

The figures have been revealed in the Black Country Core Strategy which has been developed by all four borough councils.

It has prompted a mixed response from some Walsall councillors, particularly those who have seen illegal encampments pop up in their own wards in recent weeks.

Aldridge councillor John Murray, who saw a large number of caravans pitch up at Aldridge Airport last week, described the allocation figures as unfair whilst arguing they would not even solve the problem.

He said: “On the face of it does not seem at all fair that Walsall should take more than the other three borough’s which are of a similar size. We need to find out why those allocations have been proposed.

“But to be honest I do not think it will actually make an impact on the problem we currently face from travellers who just want to stay for a week and make an absolute mess.

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“It will have very little effect on reducing unauthorised encampments. Us local councillors are lobbying hard to have a further injunction banning then from using the plots in Aldridge that they do at the moment.”

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Walsall Council currently has powers to move travellers on within 24 hours at 12 sites across the borough.

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Councillor Ian Robertson, saw more than 50 caravans cause havoc at Swannies Field in Blakenall recently, said: “The pitches should be shared around more evenly across the Black Country and indeed throughout Walsall itself as it is a big place with lots of green space.

“But I would like to see more transit sites come forward as well, which have minimum provisions such as washing facilities while they are only allowed to stay there a week.”

A public consultation on the Black Country Core Strategy ended yesterday.

Carl Jackson

By Carl Jackson
Reporter - @cjackson_star

Senior reporter for Staffordshire and Walsall.

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