Travellers Incursion Cost Made Public.

express_and_starThe clean up for the Travellers Incursion onto the Green Open Space in Kitchen Lane Ashmore Park has now been costed at £25,000 which the City Council has had to pay for the clean up. The Express and Star has reported on this issue today and you can read what they say by following this link.

I have requested a review into the whole sorry story and Councillor Steve Simkins the Chair of the Scrutiny Board has agreed to my request. I thank Councillor Steve Simkins for that. A date is being examined for a September meeting.

In my view there is a need for a debate around this particular incursion, as I am sure most of you as residents know I was unhappy with the response of West Midlands police. The policy with regard to  the law they have, is the matter very much at stake. The travellers could have been moved on sooner than they were. The police chose not to use the power they have.

I hope that the reasons behind this and other issues will come out at the scrutiny review. The public need to be confident that the police and the Local Authority are working together when incidents of this type occur.

During the six days that the travellers were in Wednesfield North I tried a communications strategy that placed two notices a day on www.philbateman.com and the links with my other social media accounts, on Facebook and Twitter to keep residents informed of what was taking place. I know that my approach was welcomed by residents as it gave up to the minute information.

I am sure this scrutiny review will also open the debate about what you do with incursions, what the LA’s are advised by Government and what other LA’s are doing, to deal with similar issues. I expect and will predict now, that this issue will not be neatly pigeon holed.

But the overwhelming issue for me is how the Police and the Council work together. Why Legal powers are not used and ultimately how we can reduce the fear for  residents when the next convoy pitches up! I hope that the Police will also come forward with their communications strategy they adopted over the week. How they communicated with residents. All ofthese issues are important. I know and you know that we will have more such visits in the city this year. But do we know how many visits we have year on year? What the bottom line costs the city has to find, to repair the damage. The more you consider the implications of these questions. The more you realise that this is a massive issue, with big financial costs.

More important is also the social consequences regarding the impact of being the  unwanted guest for the traveller and his family. This is a big issue for Wolverhampton with no easy solutions I fear;http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2015/08/06/25k-of-wolverhampton-taxpayers-money-to-clean-up-travellers-mess/

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more

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