FOLLOWING eviction from Tudor Grange Park in Solihull earlier today, a ‘massive’ traveller encampment has moved onto Cranmore Industrial Estate.
Solihull council had left an update on its website to say it was undertaking enforcement after ‘liasing’ with the traveller community, and vans were seen leaving at around midday.
But now the encampment – a group of around 30 vans – have moved onto the estate along Highlands Road.
Tired of the situation, councillor Alexander Insley described how he and a friend attempted to block the unwelcome guests from the park yesterday evening (September 15) before they were chased off.
“Myself and Jim Butler were blocked in by about three cars as we tried to stop them entering the park. I had to ride up the kerb in order to avoid them and get away. We had to split off in two separate directions to shake them off.”
Coun Insley explained he received numerous complaints from angry and concerned residents, many who have slammed the council for its failure to stop travellers setting up homes across the borough.
One Facebook commenter said: “Solihull council, once again you would rather protect and worry about the travellers’ rights than the safety and security of the residents who pay your wages.”
And Jim Butler, who accompanied Coun Insley to confront the travellers, said: “Several councillors have been outstanding in what they have tried to do.
“I attempted to block the travellers last night by parking across the park entrance with Coun Alex Insley , but we were outnumbered. Never before have I seen so many people talking about how angry they are with the situation.”
The issue of travellers across the borough is ongoing, with camps being evicted from various locations including Shirley Park, Richmond Road Playing Fields, and Streetsbrook Road and Woodside Way despite trenches being built by Solihull council in an attempt to prevent access.
The travellers then moved to Palmers Rough Recreation Ground in Shirley where another court order had to be obtained to evict them, but the community simply re-settled on National Trust land on Kixley Lane in Knowle.
A petition, calling to strengthen anti-traveller defences followed the spate of unauthorised encampments, was set up by MP Julian Knight and signed by more than 3,500 residents.
The petition calls on the council for a more effective immediate response and a better long-term strategy to protect Solihull’s open spaces.