21st Oct, 2017

Traveller camp at Shirley Park sparks outrage

Sarah Mason 9th Aug, 2017

TRAVELLERS have returned to Solihull borough – this time illegally descending on Streetsbrook Road and Woodside Way then on Shirley Park.

They arrived in the borough on August 1 – with their caravans estimated to number more than 20.

They managed to get on land off Streetsbrook Road and Woodside Way despite trenches being dug to prevent travellers gaining access by Solihull Council in recent weeks.

It Is believed the same group is now in Shirley Park.

This afternoon the council are seeking to obtain a court order to evict them within 24 hours.

Some residents and Solihull MP Julian Knight have been up in arms about their occupation and behaviour – demanding action from the council and police to eject the travellers.

One angry resident said: “The crime and anti-social behaviour which has been brought with them is frightening and the mess left behind is appalling.”

Another said: “Following their last visit, trenches were dug all round the green from Woodside Way to Sharmans Cross Road. What an utter waste of time and money, this obviously hasn’t deterred the travellers and has only left an unsightly mess.”

Mr Knight has highlighted several examples from other local authorities where innovative tactics, such as town-wide, years-long injunctions against unauthorised camps which give council officers and the police more leeway to take swift action.

For instance Sandwell council, supported by West Midlands Police, secured an injunction earlier in the summer banning a travelling family from setting up unauthorised encampments anywhere in Sandwell.

The injunction also forbids anyone setting up an unauthorised encampment on 17 Sandwell Council-owned sites including parks, playing fields and open spaces.

Mr Knight has also called for a review of the physical defences installed at some at-risk sites in the borough.

The Conservative MP said: “Solihull’s green spaces are for the whole community to enjoy – especially when the schools are on holiday and the sun is shining.

“Unauthorised camps prevent residents from using these locations, leave a lot of mess and litter behind, and often bring anti-social and even criminal behaviour too.

“Unfortunately, this summer council officers and the police seem to be finding it trickier to get travellers moved on in good time, and some of the physical defences installed at at-risk sites have also failed.

“We should learn from other communities facing these challenges. It’s time to take our open spaces back.”

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