Transit site powers used for the first time

Published 11th September 2017

Powers to direct travellers to a new transit site in Smethwick have been used for the first time over the weekend.

An unauthorised encampment of three caravans moved from land in Wednesbury in less than four hours on Sunday (10 September).

The group were served with instructions to relocate to the new transit site in Smethwick or leave the area. Failure to follow these instructions is a criminal offence which can result in being banned from the borough for three months.

The group decided to leave the area and had moved off the land near Wood Green School by 5pm – just an hour after council officers and police issued the instruction for them to move.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for regeneration Councillor Paul Moore said: “This is the first time we have used the new powers to direct groups to the transit site. They decided they would rather go elsewhere and were quickly followed out of Sandwell by our warden service.

“The whole idea of the transit site is to limit the length of time and the impact of unauthorised encampments. While the site provides a place for travellers to stay temporarily it also acts as a deterrent as this incident shows."

The transit site, off Boulton Road, has room for up to 34 caravans which will be charged £80 per week per caravan, plus a £250 deposit. There are strict rules in place on littering and behaviour.

The site has security fencing, CCTV cameras and a toilet in a steel container.