CALLS for a traveller transit site in Solihull have reached fever-pitch after campaigners claimed the council is ‘losing the battle’ against unlawful encampments.
Solihull Ratepayers’ Association has strongly advocated for a transit site intended to house travellers on a temporary basis as they pass through the borough.
The group has condemned the ‘traveller free-for-all’ in the borough after illegal encampments continue to appear.
The group says neighbouring councils – such as Sandwell – are saving hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in legal costs.
And the transit site would give police increased powers and pitching on the facility would require payment.
There have been recent encampments established in Babbs Mill Park, Kingshurst, Balsall Common and Chelmsley Wood.
The Ratepayers’ Association responded to news yesterday that over 40 caravans had been set up in Hall Road, Castle Bromwich.
It said: “Totally unacceptable – Solihull is losing the battle against unlawful traveller encampments and needs an official traveller transit site that empowers police to use Section 62 to direct them to pay for official site or escort traveller caravans directly out of the borough.”
Section 62 can prevent campers returning to anywhere in the local authority area for a period of three months – but this can only be used where an alternative site is available.
A few days before it said: “Councils with a traveller transit site are saving £100,000s a year in legal costs – plus clear-up costs – using Section 62 police powers can be used to enforce payment or get travellers to leave area.
“Most move on to an area like Solihull with no site.
“This has to make sense to stop the traveller free for all.”
The council has been active issuing injunctions for High Court approval against certain travelling families from setting up unauthorised camps in the borough.
In the last week Solihull council has issued several statements on illegal encampments.
The latest read: “Solihull council is advising residents that the unauthorised encampment recently located on Babbs Mill Park, Kingshurst has been moved on.
“A thorough clean-up is being taken on site and an assessment is underway with regards to how the site can be secured against any future incursions.
“In addition, the council has assisted Castle Bromwich Parish Council to move a group on from land on Bradford Road.
“The police have used their powers under Section 61 to remove them.
“The parish council is reviewing security on the site and arranging for the area to be cleaned.
“The council is aware of an unauthorised encampment on Dengate Drive, Balsall Common and is working closely with the police to undertake the necessary legal actions to move them on as quickly as possible.”
Information on how the Council deals with unauthorised encampments can be found here: www.solihull.gov.uk/encampments