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Wolverhampton Science Park firm's quit threat over travellers site plan

By Peter Madeley | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Businesses are planning to leave Wolverhampton if the city council presses ahead with a controversial scheme for a travellers transit site.

A council owned plot next to Wolverhampton Science Park is set to be used as a car park for travellers

Wolverhampton Council wants to allocate land off Gorsebrook Road in Whitmore Reans as a transit site where traveller families can stay for up to 28 days, in a move which has prompted fury among residents.

Now businesses have hit out at the plans, which will see travellers given a section of the Science Park car park 500 metres away to leave their cars and vans.

Simon Bromley, who runs Science Park firm Tang Solutions, says he has suspended staff recruitment until the council has made a decision on the site.

Lodging his formal opposition to the plans, Mr Bromley said he will move his business out of the city if the scheme goes ahead.

“I can see it being a visual blot to any potential investor/visitor entering the Science Park – as for sure it will not only be used as a car park but also as a place to set down temporary accommodation when access to the proposed site is unavailable,” he said.

“The council has already made parking difficult for staff and events at the Science Park by charging at the car park near to KFC, and I believe that absolutely no consideration has been made to the many businesses at the Science Park that provide local employment and growth to the area.

“I also see how anyone is going to be prepared to walk from the Science Park car park to the proposed site in bad weather – I think you will end up having trouble with people parking up the approach to the industrial estate next to the proposed site or along the residential streets.

“If this goes ahead and it has an impact on us, we shall move our business from Wolverhampton.

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“I have suspended recruitment until we have a decision.”

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The council’s decision to use the car park led to a furious outcry from campaigners, who accused the authority of deliberately misleading the public and failing to consult with businesses over its location.

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Another boss, who asked not to be named, said: “The way the council has handled this has been nothing short of disgraceful.

“They will end up losing businesses. People are ready to pack up and go elsewhere.”

Wolverhampton Council's environment boss, Councillor Steve Evans, said: "The car park in question is protected by the injunction and will not be used for parking large commercial or residential vehicles such as caravans or mobile homes.

"The site will be retained as a car park that any member of the public can use.

"Usage records indicate this car park usually has 90 per cent of its spaces available and is unused. As such, the car park will easily be able to accommodate the handful vehicles that may wish to use this facility without any detrimental impact to local businesses.

"In addition, any charges for using the car park will form part of the fee paid by anyone paying for a pitch in the transit site."

Residents have launched a campaign opposing the site, saying they fear it will lead to increased crime, congestion and will damage the environment.

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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