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
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
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.'