POLITICIANS who have been calling for action to prevent further illegal traveller encampments in Withymoor are claiming a small victory after hearing cash has been allocated to help secure vulnerable sites.

Amblecote councillor Paul Bradley had urged residents in the area concerned about the problem to rally on Saturday at Withymoor Park after Dudley Council announced it would not be proceeding with plans to create a transit site for travellers.

People living in the Withymoor area have been plagued by a series of illegal encampments over the last couple of summers and they feared without a transit site in place in the borough for traveller groups to be moved onto that they would be bracing themselves for another nightmare summer.

However - councillor Qadar Zada, Dudley Council's new leader, has swiftly followed up his announcement that revised plans to tackle the problem of unauthorised encampments will see cash set aside to secure vulnerable sites in Amblecote, Woodside and central Dudley before travelling season starts.

He said: "We recognise the importance of getting this sorted over the next few weeks.

“We have the funds ready and we are progressing with this at pace."

He said the council would also employ extra enforcement officers, introduce a borough-wide injunction and put forward plans for a permanent site for travellers to provide a "comprehensive solution to making sure the issue of traveller incursions are dealt with effectively".

Brompton Drive and Turners Lane in Amblecote are among the first areas where work will begin to secure sites in the next few weeks. Sites in Woodside Park, Netherton Park, Lister Road and central Dudley are also on the list and Cllr Zada added: “Any area that poses a risk we will address and with some urgency.”

Cllr Paul Bradley, whose phone has been red hot when travellers have previously set up camp at Withymoor, said: "The very speedy decision to title Withymoor Park and Brompton Drive incursion sites as the first areas to have actions on the day before my meeting is a blatant pressure act which I most welcome and feel content in claiming a tiny piece of victory.

"After all I will be getting some form of security for residents."

But he added: "I'm wary that enough allocated resources will be there to fund all at 'risk sites' borough-wide so it was imperative to shout for my ward to be a priority after what we have endured over the years."

Ms James said she still believes a transit site would be the best way to tackle the problem and she added: "I share the concerns of residents in Withymoor and the wider area, who are affected every year by travellers. The new Labour council has frustrated the only viable option to prevent illegal encampments. It would have given police powers to move travellers on within two hours of their arrival rather than having to wait for a court order.

“My fear now is that 2019 will simply be a repeat of previous years. I urge Cllr Zada to rethink now and back the transit site which was approved by the previous administration, approved by the Secretary of State, supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner, and tried and tested in other nearby boroughs where it works.”