Controversial £1 million Wolverhampton traveller site approved by council
Controversial plans for a £1 million traveller site in Wolverhampton will go ahead after council chiefs backed the idea.
Land off Gorsebrook Road in Whitmore Reans will be used for the transit site – despite almost 120 objections being submitted.
Fierce opposition had been raised by residents and campaigners, who argued the area was not fit for the site highlighting traffic and alleged land contamination issues.
But Wolverhampton Council argued that it faced losing a High Court injunction, which prevents unauthorised encampments in parts of the city if it does not provide a transit site for travellers.
Interactive map shows site of land:
Councillor Anwen Muston, who put forward the motion to approve it, said: "It's a brownfield site, previously used for tipping, and things like that – it brings that back into use, addresses fly-tipping and will help maintain the site.
"There's no problems with access from the roads.
"We don't have one of these sites and the chances are it will carry on costing the council a lot of money.
She said without the transit site it would continue costing the council between £250,000 to £300,000 a year to move camps on adding: "This will alleviate the cost and save the council money in the long run."
A last-ditch attempt to reject it was made by former council leader Roger Lawrence, who raised concerns over traffic issues, parking, environmental degradation and ground conditions.
He said: "I recognise how important the injunction is and the need to maintain that injunction – I was the leader of the council when we obtained it.
"Members should not feel you have to approve this to save the injunction – you can defer it and wait for further information."
Gemma Taylor, a resident and member of the St Peters Ward Residents Group, said it came as "no surprise" it had been approved – but the "fight was not over".
It will see up to 13 traveller families housed on the transit site – for a maximum 14 days at a time with a year long trial to assess the level of use.
Wolverhampton Council will return to the High Court on July 20 for a hearing over the progress of the transit site.
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