A DUDLEY councillor is urging council bosses to hurry up and find a permanent base for travellers to help prevent further encampments in the town.

Councillor Shaukat Ali, who represents St Thomas's, has spoken out after travellers descended on one of the car parks on Flood Street in the town centre for the second time this year.

Caravans pulled up on the council-owned site on August 4 after a barrier was removed and Cllr Ali said residents in his ward have become increasingly frustrated at the situation.

He said: “We have had repeated incursions in Flood Street and it's obviously unacceptable to local people that live in the area.

"We have been repeatedly raising this with the council to get the travellers moved on and for an alternative site for them to move to.

"St Thomas’s should not be seen as a dumping ground, we have had more than our fair share."

Cllr Ali called on council leaders to get a move on with plans to find a permanent travellers transit site in the borough and he added: "It's important to get this site up and running. The Tories have been dragging their feet."

Leader of Dudley Council, councillor Patrick Harley, said he was confident a site would be secured by next May as hundreds of expressions of interest have been sent out to landowners.

He said: "If there are organisations, landlords, people out there with land we could use as a site, then please get in touch with the local authority to help us. It’s clear that we need one."

Cllr Harley denied Flood Street was being used a “dumping ground” and he said he did not want to see illegal incursions “anywhere in the borough”.

Councillor Laura Taylor, cabinet member for housing, communities and residents’ welfare, told the News yesterday (Wednesday) that “more than half of the caravans” had already left the site and she said: “We are looking at our legal position in relation to the remaining few caravans.”

She said the removal of the entrance barrier to the carpark had been reported to the police.

Meanwhile - residents in Halesowen were this week waiting for travellers camped on playing fields close to Halesowen College to be moved on.

Caravans arrived on the fields, which are believed to be owned by the Stour Vale Academy Trust, on the corner of Whittingham Road and Furnace Lane on Friday August 2.

Councillor Simon Phipps, who represents Belle Vale, said although the travellers had stayed longer than expected he was confident they would be moved on soon, once a possession order was obtained from the courts by the land owners.

He said: “When they pitched up they said they were going to be a few days but that hasn’t been the case.

“This group have been keeping themselves to themselves, but there has still been a lot of mess.

“People who want to use the land haven’t been able to, kids who play football, people walking their dogs.”

He has also called for a transit site to be put in place but aimed fire at the previous Labour administration for playing 'petty political games' when they shelved plans for a temporary site at Budden Road in Coseley in January.