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Birmingham's cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, John...
Birmingham's cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, John

Alden has written to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

expressing his concerns, and the concerns of many Birmingham residents,

that neither the city council nor the West Midlands Police have adequate

powers to deal with traveller encampments that continue to plague the city.

The latest encampment at Pype Hayes Park has caused massive unrest in the

local area, and the community are up in arms as they feel they have been

deprived of access to their local park by a large traveller encampment

which includes lorries, mechanical diggers and various types of earth

moving equipment.

Residents have complained about fly tipping of materials excavated during

driveway works the travellers are undertaking, traveller's dogs

intimidating park users and attacking their pets, lack of toilet and refuse

facilities on the site and damage being caused to the site itself by the

travellers vehicles and equipment.

The police and council officials are working together to try and get the

travellers to move on, but Mr Alden has drawn the deputy prime

minister's attention to the fact that a week after the travellers occupied

the site the various laws and processes available to the police and the

local authority have still failed to gain possession of the site.

A similar situation is occurring in Rupert Street in Nechells where another

group of travellers has set up an encampment on a playing field at the back

of a leisure centre.

Mr Alden said:

'It is simply not good enough that we do not have proper powers to deal

with these illegal occupations of our parks and playing fields. Birmingham

already provides a traveller site, which I understand these groups have

refused to move to, and their complete disregard for the needs of the local

community, their abuse of the local environment and the fact that we within

the local authority will end up having to pay the cost to clear up after

them is simply unacceptable.

'I understand that in southern Ireland new legislation has been brought in

recently which has dramatically reduced the problem of illegal traveller

encampments in that country and I have urged the deputy prime minister to

make contact with colleagues in that country to see whether we could learn

from them and bring forward legislation to deal with this ongoing problem.

'I look forward to receiving some real help from the government in dealing

with this perennial issue.'

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