DUDLEY Council is set to make "2019 a year of continued illegal encampments" according to a Black Country MP if it does not swiftly progress plans to create a transit site in the borough.

When Labour seized control of the council in the autumn, a long-awaited plan to build a temporary site for travellers on land off Budden Road in Coseley - put forward by the previous Tory administration - was put on hold amid uproar from residents.

The plan remains under review and residents in Amblecote have been growing increasingly worried a decision will not be made in time to prevent further encampments in the Withymoor area which has been subjected to a series of unauthorised incursions over the last couple of summers.

Stourbridge MP Margot James has hit out at Dudley Council for putting the transit site plan on hold and she told the News: "They have frustrated the process of implementing the only effective measure to prevent illegal travellers encampments. By having this transit site, travellers could be moved on from illegal encampments in places like Withymoor within two hours of arriving, preventing weeks of disruption for local residents.

“Despite assurances from the previous cabinet member for housing that no delay would be caused by this review, the Labour-run council is now set to make 2019 a year of continued illegal encampments across the borough.

"The council need to take action, and they need to act now.”

Amblecote councillor Paul Bradley (Conservative), whose phone was red hot with calls from angry residents when travellers set up camp on playing fields near Sainsbury's last year and the year before, is urging for a "positive decision to be made on the Budden Road site" and if this cannot be achieved he says he will be strongly requesting Amblecote's at risk areas are enforced with more concrete blocks or bollards.

He added: "Amblecote has suffered year after year. I fully understand the complexities involved in the subject, but time is ticking toward the next traveller season and there is no mood in my ward for any longer delays on the matter. Action is required one way or the other."

Councillor Qadar Zada, leader of Dudley Council, said the matter was still under review and added: "We will be in a position to report on it shortly. We're expecting it come to the next cabinet meeting in February."

He added: "What this administration is committed to doing is sorting out this issue once and for all. The administration before us sold everyone a story that the only way this will get solved is to have a transit site - actually it's a bit more complex than that.

"All it means is you can send people to it - it doesn't stop illegal encampments.

"We need preventative measures, better enforcement and systems and processes to manage things. No consideration has been given to running the transit site which will cost £300,000 and will only be used for three years because that land is marked for housing. We need a permanent transit site.

"We can't just carry on because the last administration said we should. This is typical of the Tories - half a job approach - that's not what we're about.

"I've lived near to an incursion and I know the impact it has on local people. Having a community turn up on your doorstep is daunting but I think the residents will not forgive us if all we give them is a traveller site and we still have incursions."

He added: "We are not a sticking plaster administration, we're going to sort it all out. We are not sticking plasters around the borough."