Since I last updated my blog on this issue I am happy to report that, in almost a year, travellers have not returned onto this land. So the concrete barriers, while very unsightly, appear to have done the trick.
However, what has not changed is the appalling behaviour of a select few who see fit to drive to this corner of Pelsall to dump their waste rather than simply drive to one of the Council’s Civic amenity sites.
Of even greater concern is the burned out van left to rot in front of the concrete barriers. This presents a more immediate danger to people, especially to children who might feel compelled to try and enter the van to ‘explore’.
Apart from the more sinister aspect to this, I do wonder why the Police or other agencies have not taken some action to remove the carcass. The photos clearly show its condition and the dangers it poses; a vehicle registration number is clearly visible, so assuming this is the correct plate, tracing the owners should be easy.
Now I know the various public agencies might start saying that this is privately owned land etc etc so it is not so easy to take action etc etc but there is a clear history of fly-tipping on this site and the Council/others should remove it in order to protect the public and then invoice the landowner for the clean-up bill.
The landowners seem determined to spend the absolute minimum before they can find a willing buyer for their land and their reluctance to erect proper gated access to the land is causing all this trouble, risk and cost to the tax-payer (whom I know paid for the concrete barriers).
I do hope the relevant authorities will take the necessary action ASAP and invoice accordingly for it.
Yesterday I went to inspect the recent change that residents were concerned about over the x-mas period. The Council had temporarily agreed to position a heavily laden skip at the field entrance. This worked well. Over x-mas this was removed and replaced with heavy duty concrete sections – the sort found on motorways/large carriage ways to separate lanes.
Here are some photos:
What I am disappointed about is that these concrete sections appear to have been merely placed in situ without any anchoring or even an attempt at bedding them into the ground. I would not be surprised if these are cannot be pushed out the way with the sort of vehicles travellers have. Basic law of physics, something can be heavy, but if friction is low it will move!
If I was disappointed in this, I was even more disappointed in the awful litter found either side of this track. Disgusting. This may be private land, but I do believe we have a duty of care towards pedestrians (right of way) and immediate neighbours. We should clean it up and send the invoice to the landowners. The Law gives us these powers.
I could go on about the illegal tethering of horses and fencing, there again just arranging to have the rubbish removed would be a pleasant surprise if we could do it… – and BILL the LANDOWNERS!
Well, they are back. What can I say. Words fail, and a good thing too because the ineptitude and selfishness of certain individuals can only solicit words that I would be duly chastised for using.
1. Landowner ignores pleas from local residents and the Council over many years to install a barrier thus allowing travellers onto fields which the Council then has the problem of removing etc
2. Landowner commits to bollards: toothpicks would have done a better job – and he was warned – so travellers remove said toothpicks (imagine the laughs) and pleased themselves again.
3. Landowner arranges block of concrete; again he is warned that it is not substantial enough. More traveller laughs can be heard -today- from miles away while they drag the block out of the way and establish themselves again.
Jackanory comes to mind.
I know, perhaps we could explain the problem with Lego pieces?
Oh, I was forgetting, the Police were in attendance and guess what they did about the whole thing?
On the 17th May I posted the article below following the eternal saga of travellers occupying a parcel of land accessed at the junction of Pelsall Lane with Walsall Road, Pelsall.
I remarked at how thin the concrete posts were and wondered how long it would be before these would be vandalised, or simply pushed over.
I rest my case. I guess my phone will soon start ringing with residents complaining about a new traveller encampment.
I am posting this information out of sheer frustration – and in so doing I acknowledge that I might put myself in the wrong somehow. Nontheless, I do want to make the case as best I can for the many residents that have contacted me over the last couple of years.
Traveller groups have encroached on private land to the rear of Walsall Road, Pelsall on numerous occasions following the removal of a barrier that previously existed at the junction of Pelsall Lane with Walsall Road; and, on numerous occasions, the Local Authority has had to send enfocement officers out to serve notice etc (following all the red tape requirements) to move the trevellers on who, invariably, leave mementos of the presence ranging from bagsful of disposable nappies to conifer cuttings to waste material that has had any metal stripped from it that could be weighed in.
Nearly two years ago the Local Authority had agreed to erecting a barrier following much lobbying from local Cllrs. This was a big step forward because it did seem very complicated, to be fair. Indeed the onus really should be with the landowners (and there are many) to deal with the barrier and with all the problems left behind – and not with the Council (read taxpayer). Clearly though the landowners have been unsympathetic and local Cllrs have taken a ‘wider duty of care’ approach to all the affected residents and championed their cause. But this became a farce as the barrier was never reinstalled and within days of travellers being moved on, they often returned and the merry-go-round started again.
So to huge relief all around the Council installed a skip full of hardcore to act as a temporary barrier – job done, you might think. To everyone’s dismay and trepidation, causing numerous resident’s telephone calls/emails/tweets, the skip was removed 48 hours ago with a very small mound of soil with blocks of concrete left behind: the new barrier! So effective this was that within hours these blocks had been pushed to one side and the mound driven over by unknown people.
After further protestations I did receive theis email from the Council:
Good Afternoon Councillor,
For your information.
The land owner is arranging a concrete barrier to be installed a.s.a.p.
He will be leaving a 1.2 metre access for the public right of way to the left hand side, I will inform you when the barrier is in place.
The unauthorised have left the area and indicated they would not be returning until the summer.
If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Oh dear, a.s.a.p.? Two years to install, and then remove a barrier? You’ll forgive my cynicism but I wanted to see for myself so off I went today, camera to hand…
So there we have it. We now have two thin concrete posts, no greater than 4″ square that will no doubt be obstructive to an oversized baby buggy – but will they stop vehicles or indeed a determined traveller armed with van/tipper/4 x 4? I’m not so sure. The proof of the pudding wll be in the eating and we won’t have to wait long as summer is almost upon us.