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Green light for travellers

TEN years after travellers set up an illegal home on green belt land, Solihull Council has given them permission to stay permanently.

TEN years after travellers set up an illegal home on green belt land, Solihull Council has given them permission to stay permanently.

Long-serving councillor Jim Ryan has slammed a decision to change the use of council-owned land, in Old Damson Lane.

He told the Solihull News that he felt colleagues on the planning committee had acted with “obscene haste”.

Last Thursday, councillors had taken a majority decision to make the camp a permanent site.

“If this decision had been taken after the core strategy had been agreed, I could live with that,” said Coun Ryan.

“But they have not followed due process and seem to have ridden roughshod over the consultation process.”

The group of Irish travellers had moved onto the land in 2001 and the council had failed in attempts to move them on.

Almost a decade later, the local authority has hammered out a deal with the family and agreed to change the use of the land.

Coun Ryan (Con, Bickenhill) also warned that the decision could have ramifications elsewhere in the borough.

“A decision was taken to throw out a travellers’ site in Meriden and we’ll have to defend that at a public inquiry.

“Now we seem to have shown it’s different rules for green belt land in another part of the borough and that muddles our policy.”

But Coun Theresa Tedd (Lib Dem, Lyndon) said that 17 permanent pitches needed to be created by next year.

“If we don’t approve sites where they are on a temporary basis, we are not going to be able to meet that.”

 

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