This is where the next fixed traveller site is planned for Birmingham

This is where the next fixed traveller site is planned for Birmingham

Plans to create Birmingham’s second official traveller camp are set to be approved by councillors this week.

The city council wants to turn a car park at the junction of Aston Brook Street East and Hubert Street in Aston into a site for up to four caravans.

Currently Birmingham has only one official site at Tameside Drive, Castle Vale and the city council has been told to set up more if it wants to take stronger enforcement action against the unofficial camps which blight parks during the summer.

Planning committee members will consider the plan to fence off the car park and build a toilet and washroom facility, when they meet on Thursday, August 16. The council can also charge travellers to use the facility.



The site viewed from Aston Brook Street East

The site is behind a business and next to terraced houses, many of which are owned by the Aston Students Union and let to students.

44 people have written letters of objection to the committee saying they will suffer from nuisance, loss of parking, that the development will be unsightly and that with space for just four caravans is too small anyway.

The council has plans to turn another car park, in Rupert Street, Nechells into a camp for up to 15 caravans.

Birmingham has been inundated with traveller incursions on parks and open spaces in recent years – with camps of up to 30 caravans parking up on public land without permission. There were 117 during the summer of 2017 costing the council taxpayer £163,600 in clean up and eviction costs.

Frequently the council issue eviction notices and have secured injunctions for five city parks including Perry Park. But the council has been told by Government it needs to provide more official sites and told it can speed up evictions if there is an available place to send the caravans.

Neighbouring Sandwell last year set up a secure £80 per week camp on derelict land off Boulton Road in Smethwick. It has been able to secure injunctions on 17 sites across the boroughs and as a result evictions take just hours, rather than the days taken in Birmingham.



Travellers arriving on a residential field in Park Hall, Walsall
Travellers arriving on a residential field in Park Hall, Walsall

In a report to the planning committee, the new Aston site is recommended for approval.

Planning officer Philip Whittaker said: “The proposed change of use to land for transient accommodation for vehicles would have no detrimental impact on the visual amenity of the surrounding area, the amenities of neighbouring occupiers or on highway safety.”

The site was also earmarked for a traveller camp in the 2017 council development plan.

Plans for a much larger fourth site for up to 60 caravans on a waste facility site under the M6 on the Bromford estate in Hodge Hill were dropped last year following petitions and protests from locals.

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