DUDLEY Council has announced it has been given the go ahead to progress plans to build a temporary travellers’ site in Coseley.

Council planners agreed to approve a planning application for a temporary transit site for travellers on land off Budden Road earlier this year following a consultation with residents.

But the authority has been awaiting confirmation from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government about whether the planning decision would be called in for consideration after MP Pat McFadden objected on behalf of residents.

However – Dudley Council has today (Tuesday September 11) confirmed it has received a letter from the Secretary of State’s office confirming he is “content” that the matter should be determined by the local planning authority, which gives the council the green light to proceed with the project which has been developed following a spate of costly incursions by travellers on public open spaces in the borough.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: “We welcome today’s decision from the Secretary of State. We are continuing to have illegal encampments in the borough, which demonstrates more than ever that we need this transit site.

“Each time it costs us and the Dudley taxpayer thousands of pounds in legal fees and clean-up costs, which is why it’s now time to take action and put a stop to this.

“We are now in a position to progress our plans and I look forward to it being in operation early next year.”

Work is now expected to get underway in the next couple of months – with the site expected to be ready in early 2019.

The Coseley site has been approved for use for three years which will give the council time to identify a permanent location.

Having a dedicated short-stay site in the borough for traveller families will give police the power to swiftly move on any travellers setting up illegal encampments on public open spaces.

If an area has a facility where travellers can stay they must move to it within two hours or leave the local authority area completely.

Council chiefs believe the sites, which travellers must pay rent to stay at to cover the costs of power, water and waste disposal, are unattractive to many traveller families and they often prefer to leave the local authority area altogether rather than be ordered to stay at the facility.

Illegal encampments in the Dudley borough have cost taxpayers around £150,000 in clean-up and legal costs since 2015. As access to transit sites is legitimate and facilities are provided additional clean-ups would not be required.

Stourbridge MP Margot James said she was “delighted” to hear approval has been given for the council to proceed with setting up a much-needed transit site following her letter to the Minister.

She said: “It is a proven way of preventing travellers from occupying our local green spaces and denying local residents access to such amenities.

“I hope that work at the site will commence soon to ensure that we do not have any repeats of the issues that my constituents have been facing, particularly in the Withymoor area.”