Council accused of "appalling" behaviour over communication with residents about travellers camp

Redditch Advertiser: The travellers’ wagons on Hunt End Lane The travellers’ wagons on Hunt End Lane

REDDITCH Council has been accused of “appalling” behaviour after failing to respond to people concerned about a group of travellers’ which had set up camp in the area.

The travellers moved to the site on Hunt End Lane - a nature reserve - on about November 2, and after discussions with Redditch Council, a spokesman for the travellers, Peter Delaney, agreed they would vacate on November 12.

But as that date came and went, residents became increasingly frustrated with new horses and 4x4 vehicles arriving, and the “mess” being caused, and were angry at Redditch Council for, as one resident said: “not bothering to give residents proper answers, despite being repeatedly asked”.

The council served notice to the travellers to move on, which they eventually did, but not before the council had angered several residents.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “I have to say how unimpressed I have been with Redditch Council.

“You may well say that you have been working hard behind the scenes to get a satisfactory resolution. However, you have to remember that you are representatives of the neighbourhood and as such part of your responsibility is to communicate. This has been woefully inadequate with glib emails sent and telephone calls not returned. It was noticeable that apart from an automated reply from Karen Lumley MP to an email I sent, not one response was received from the council.

“This is quite frankly appalling.”

Sue Hanley, the council’s executive director for leisure, environment & community services, said: “Following Mr Delaney’s failure to leave by the agreed date of November 12, he was given formal notice to vacate the site by 4pm on November 16, which notice he fully complied with.

“As there was a possibility here that formal legal proceedings would be required to remove Mr Delaney, it was considered inappropriate to provide specific details of the action being taken by the council due to the risk of those proceedings being prejudiced.

“We have received several compliments from residents about how we handled this sensitive and complex situation.”

But she added that they would be getting in touch with one resident who contacted the council directly over its handling of the situation.

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