Hopes of an agreement on a controversial travellers' site for Dudley has taken a step forward after Labour and Conservatives councillors met to thrash out a compromise.

But the location for the hotly disputed caravan park is being kept under wraps as local authority officers and elected members seek to fine tune the details.

Cllr Qadar Zada, Labour leader of the council, speaking on Black Country Radio said a cross party meeting had identified a new site which had won backing from all sides, but he added there are legal issues to be resolved before an announcement on where it will be built is made.

The previous choice of a temporary transit site for 40 vehicles on Budden Road in Coseley had been rejected by Labour councillors when they took control of the authority in September.

But the proposed creation of a permanent, smaller location was rejected in a heated debate at February's council meeting.

Illegal encampment of traveller caravans. Library photo.
 

That decision led to an emergency meeting of party leaders to thrash out a solution.

The creation of a caravan park would allow police to order travellers to either move to the transit site or leave the borough within two hours.

Cllr Zada said a new location has now been identified but wasn't going to be announced until its location was formally agreed.

"What I will say about this particular site is, that there is cross party discussion. I've had a number of meetings with the leader of the opposition and the shadow cabinet member of housing and they are fully supportive of where we are proposing and they are also very supportive of trying to get this through quite quickly so we can confirm where this site will be."

He added: "There isn't a residential community who will be quite as affected as the Budden Road site but it's not that we are trying to be mysterious but there are some legal issues we have to overcome before we can make a public statement."

But Conservative councillor Simon Phipps has said there are still questions over if the new site is capable of dealing with the number of travellers.

"Wherever it is, as long as it is suitable there is an argument for it,a very clear argument for it, but it has to work.

"We can't put it somewhere and then it doesn't' work. So we need to know how big the site will be because it is very important that it is big enough to move on the vast majority of illegal encampments."

Cabinet members will now discuss an update on the progress of a permanent travellers transit site at their meeting on March 20.