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Travellers site to go ahead

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Plans for a temporary travellers site will go ahead in Coseley after being “rigorously scrutinised” by councillors.

Dudley Council already has planning and council approval for a site in Budden Road.

The plans were put on hold last month to allow the place scrutiny committee to look at the proposals and make recommendations.

Earlier this month (Feb) the committee, made up of elected members of both political parties, scrutinised the plans, including a visit to the proposed site.

The plans were also discussed at a meeting of the full council on Monday, which fed back to the cabinet member for consideration before making a final decision.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the council, said:

“These proposals have been rigorously scrutinised, which is only right to make sure we make the correct decision.
Again, I’d like to reassure residents it is highly unlikely that this site will be used. But importantly, it gives us greater powers to deal with illegal encampments quickly, more cheaply and more efficiently by having a temporary site in place.
What is important now is that we monitor the site closely and listen to the views of local people during the next three years.”

Dudley Council received planning approval for the Budden Road site in 2018. The plans were shelved while the council carried out further extensive searches for an alternative site.

But the plans for the temporary Coseley site were put back on the table last month (January) after exhaustive searches for alternative sites.

The introduction of the £280,000 temporary transit site will give the council, in partnership with police, additional legal powers to remove any unauthorised encampments which target open spaces in the borough.

Sandwell already has a site in place and Wolverhampton and Walsall are also looking at potential sites – increasing pressure on Dudley Council to avoid a displacement of unauthorised encampments from elsewhere in the Black Country. Evidence from Sandwell suggests that the site will be used extremely rarely and will not cause disruption to the lives of the local community.

The proposed site in Coseley will be open by late spring and will be monitored closely with council bosses keen to reassure local residents who have previously expressed concerns about the proposal. The council is currently spending around £150,000 a year on legal fees and clean-up costs.

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