All options will be explored for family

editorial image

AFTER an outburst of objections from people in Rowsley and Ashbourne, Derbyshire Dales District Council has promised to ‘explore all options’ to accommodate a family of travellers.

The family, who are currently parked on land at the Agricultural Centre in Bakewell, are officially classed as homeless and, by law, the district council must now fulfil their housing requirement.

But proposals for a temporary site in Rowsley and a permanent site in Ashbourne have sparked outrage amongst residents and traders.

Adam Styles, of Peak Tractors in Rowsley, said: “We’re not happy at all. The last time we had travellers here we lost a lot of business. We have got numerous other concerns about their coming here again.”

In Ashbourne, there have been full protests against the plans and the application has been deferred.

District council chief executive Dorcas Bunton explained how the authority “absolutely understand the sensitivities that surround this issue” but “cannot ignore an application for assistance”.

She said: “The traveller family have refused an offer from us of a bricks and mortar home on the grounds that this would not suit their lifestyle and we are obliged to consider this.”

Derbyshire Dales District Council also have an obligation to consider 11 other sites put forward by the Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group (DGLG) – sites the family believe would be most suitable for them.

Dorcas added: “While not all the proposed sites are owned by the district council, we have listened to the representations from local people and councillors will have the opportunity on December 13 to consider all available options, including Watery Lane [in Ashbourne].

“Should councillors decide any of the options are worthy of further exploration, full public consultation would take place, followed by an application for planning approval.”

The district council’s environment committee will consider provision of a temporary site for the family at Old Station Close, in Rowsley, on Thursday, November 29.