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Residents blast council for wasting almost £1m on traveller site which has NEVER been used

SWNS
102 次觀看
2 個月前
<p>Furious residents have blasted council bosses for wasting almost £1million on a traveller site – which has NEVER been used.</p><p>Taxpayers’ picked up the bill for the controversial site - called a Negotiated Stopping Point (NSP) - which can hold 13 caravans plus vehicles.</p><p>Wolverhampton City Council developed the two-acre former landfill site in Gorsebook Road into a transit site for illegal travellers.</p><p>It was equipped with laundry and washing facilities, surrounded by perimeter fencing and monitored by CCTV.</p><p>The NSP was designed to temporarily house travellers who had been evicted from illegal camps.</p><p>Travellers were invited to stay for up to 14 days at a cost of £100 per week plus a £250 deposit. Once they left they were not permitted to return to the city for 12 months.</p><p>But despite being opened last September, the site has not been used by a single person.</p><p>Residents have reacted with fury and accused council chiefs of “going soft” on travellers after another group invaded a park three miles away last month.</p><p>Mick Elson, 55, from Wolverhampton, said: “It’s an absolute joke. </p><p>"Not only does the council spent nearly £1 million of our money on a site to help illegal travellers, no one even uses it.</p><p>“Your average illegal traveller isn’t exactly going to be willing to cough up hundreds of pounds when there’s a park down the road where they can pitch up for free.</p><p>“Yet again the council have gone soft on travellers who invade our parks and open spaces at the expense of law-abiding citizens. It's disgusting.”</p><p>Mum-of-three Debra Craig, 40, added: “Building a site where you are asking travellers to pay hundreds of pounds was always a crackers idea to me.</p><p>“The fact the site hasn’t even been used just makes the council look like a laughing stock.</p><p>“The people who illegally set up camps shouldn’t be given help to plan their next illegal move, they should be prosecuted.”</p><p>Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton Council’s environment chief, said the council took the issue of unauthorised encampments “very seriously”.</p><p>He said: “The creation of our NSP in Gorsebrook Road gives members of those encampments a choice when they come to the city.</p><p>“While it has not yet been used, it is an option we have to deter unauthorised encampments.</p><p>"Should anyone coming into the city choose not to stay at the NSP and instead decide to set up an unauthorised encampment, then council officers will take the appropriate actions.”</p><p>Conservative councillor Wendy Thompson said: “This site was not wanted by the local community and it does not seem to be wanted by the travelling community either.</p><p>"It cost an awful lot and looks like a total waste of money.”</p><p>Another transit site in neighbouring Smethwick opened in 2017 and cost £200,000 but has been used just once in the past year for 12 days.</p>
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