Residents blast council for wasting almost £1m on traveller site which has NEVER been used

Furious residents have blasted council bosses for wasting almost £1million on a traveller site – which has NEVER been used.

Taxpayers’ picked up the bill for the controversial site - called a Negotiated Stopping Point (NSP) - which can hold 13 caravans plus vehicles.

Wolverhampton City Council developed the two-acre former landfill site in Gorsebook Road into a transit site for illegal travellers.

It was equipped with laundry and washing facilities, surrounded by perimeter fencing and monitored by CCTV.

The NSP was designed to temporarily house travellers who had been evicted from illegal camps.

Travellers were invited to stay for up to 14 days at a cost of £100 per week plus a £250 deposit. Once they left they were not permitted to return to the city for 12 months.

But despite being opened last September, the site has not been used by a single person.

Residents have reacted with fury and accused council chiefs of “going soft” on travellers after another group invaded a park three miles away last month.

Mick Elson, 55, from Wolverhampton, said: “It’s an absolute joke.

"Not only does the council spent nearly £1 million of our money on a site to help illegal travellers, no one even uses it.

“Your average illegal traveller isn’t exactly going to be willing to cough up hundreds of pounds when there’s a park down the road where they can pitch up for free.

“Yet again the council have gone soft on travellers who invade our parks and open spaces at the expense of law-abiding citizens. It's disgusting.”

Mum-of-three Debra Craig, 40, added: “Building a site where you are asking travellers to pay hundreds of pounds was always a crackers idea to me.

“The fact the site hasn’t even been used just makes the council look like a laughing stock.

“The people who illegally set up camps shouldn’t be given help to plan their next illegal move, they should be prosecuted.”

Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton Council’s environment chief, said the council took the issue of unauthorised encampments “very seriously”.

He said: “The creation of our NSP in Gorsebrook Road gives members of those encampments a choice when they come to the city.

“While it has not yet been used, it is an option we have to deter unauthorised encampments.

"Should anyone coming into the city choose not to stay at the NSP and instead decide to set up an unauthorised encampment, then council officers will take the appropriate actions.”

Conservative councillor Wendy Thompson said: “This site was not wanted by the local community and it does not seem to be wanted by the travelling community either.

"It cost an awful lot and looks like a total waste of money.”

Another transit site in neighbouring Smethwick opened in 2017 and cost £200,000 but has been used just once in the past year for 12 days.