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Wolverhampton council applies for new powers to move on traveller camps

By Richard Guttridge | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Council bosses want tough new powers to allow them to move travellers on within hours.

Caravans at Windsor Avenue playing fields in Wolverhampton earlier this year

Wolverhampton council is to apply for a wide-ranging injunction, with leaders growing increasingly frustrated at their inability to shift travellers quickly enough.

It follows concerns the city could become the go-to destination for travellers after neighbouring councils armed themselves with tougher powers.

The council is currently in the midst of its latest battle after a group moved onto land near Grapes Pool in Bilston on May 10.

They have been ordered to leave by Thursday after being served with a court order but it means they will be gone two weeks after they arrived.

Other councils, such as Sandwell, have been able to move encampments within hours after the creation of a temporary holding site boosted their powers.

The injunction will be sent to the High Court for consideration and would protect 60 sites in the city. It is hoped it will be in place by the end of the year.

Former city mayor Councillor Milkinder Jaspal said action was needed to tackle the city’s problem with travellers.

He said: “I welcome the application for the injunction, it is long overdue.

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"Putting up bollards does a job but it has a visual impact on the surrounding area.

“The police already have powers but they don’t use them. It leaves the council in limbo and this is where the injunction comes in.

“Enforcement action should be taken very swiftly, within 24 to 48 hours, it will be a lot quicker.”

Councillor Jaspal said decisions by other Black Country councils made the city's situation all the more urgent.

He added: "Dudley, Sandwell and South Staffordshire are all bringing in stricter measures. If I was was a traveller I would be saying 'let's go to Wolverhampton and stay there for 10 days'. Wolverhampton is isolated."

The council came under fire earlier in the year for the speed in which travellers were moved on from Windsor Avenue playing fields in Penn.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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