Call for caravan site for travellers in transit through Solihull

A dedicated site where the authorities are able to direct groups of travellers should be created in Solihull, a community group has said.

Solihull Ratepayers’ Association has argued that the public are keen for “a practical solution” to be found following a string of unauthorised encampments being established in the borough.

Now the organisation is pressing Solihull Council to investigate the options for creating a “transit site”.

Caravans may remain here for a limited period of time, but are required to pay a pitch fee, which helps cover the associated running costs.

Trevor Eames, the Ratepayers’ Association secretary, argued that similar facilities created in other parts of the country had worked well and believed that the borough should follow their example.

“If you have a transit site it gives the council more options,” he said.

“Obviously you would need to have a public consultation to identify an appropriate site, which would have the least amount of impact on the local community.”

A transit site has recently been introduced by Sandwell Council, with the local authority and police directing travellers to the facility.

However, there was controversy among local residents when the site was granted planning permission last year – with some citing fears about an increase in anti-social behaviour in the area.

Finding a suitable piece of land was among the obstacles identified by Cllr Tony Dicicco, the cabinet member for stronger communities and partnerships in the last municipal year, when the possibility of transit sites was raised at a recent decision-making session.

He had also questioned whether there would be difficulties in getting the travellers to go to the facility in the majority of cases.

“If transit sites were the answer, I think most local authorities would have already got them in place,” he said.

“It’s something we might look at, but at the moment there are some issues with transit sites and I’m not sure how effective they are.”

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